The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody

Child custody is not a singular thing where being awarded custody means all rights go to you, the parent. There are actually two different types of custody. You can be awarded sole or shared custody on one or both fronts.

The first type is legal custody. This is not what people traditionally think about during a divorce, but it is what parents naturally do for their children without even considering it. They make decisions about schooling, health care, and much more. They pick a religion for the child, in some cases, and make other formative decisions. Only a parent with legal custody can make many of these choices.

The second type is physical custody, and it is the traditional type of custody most people consider: the child’s physical location. It dictates which parent they live with and who takes care of them on a daily basis.

In many shared custody situations, both types will be shared equally. Each parent spends time living with the child. Each parent weighs in on key decisions. But it’s also possible for it to be split up differently. The child may spend time with both parents, for instance, but the court may choose only one parent to make critical decisions. Likewise, both parents may get a say in these legal choices, even when the child lives with one full-time.

Splitting up custody properly is crucial. You must know about all of the legal steps you can take during this process.

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  • How Should You React if Your Ex Won’t Let You See Your Kids? Read More

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