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Physical vs. legal custody

On Behalf of | Jun 1, 2020 | Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law |

The process of divorce can be complex and draining. One of the biggest concerns that a couple can go through is trying to figure out who will have custody of the children. This can prove to be a very difficult task and oftentimes can strain the relationship with the child. It is important to know what the difference between two types of custody: physical and legal.

Physical custody

When a parent holds physical custody of the child, then the court has determined that the child will physically live with that parent and not the other. This depends a lot on the situation but, in most cases, the court will grant physical custody to the parent who whom the child wants to live with. There are other factors that the court considers, such as whom has been the primary caretaker of the child, which parent has enough resources to support the child, who lives closest to the child’s school, among other things. Ultimately, the driving decision is what is in the best interest of the child.

Legal custody

In this particular kind of custody, a parent has the right and the duty to make certain decisions that will affect the child’s upbringing. For example, a parent who has legal custody over a child can decide what kind of schooling, religious beliefs and medical attention his or her child is to have.

In most states, both parents will have joint custody of the child, which means that both will get to make these important kinds of decisions on the life of the child. By working together and putting their differences aside, parents will be able to better raise their child.