Understanding legal and physical custody

Understanding legal and physical custody

| Nov 15, 2019 | Child Custody |

Child custody often becomes an issue when two parents go through a divorce or otherwise separate. Custody can either be joint or shared, meaning that both parents share responsibilities for the upbringing of their child, or sole custody, meaning that only one parent has the legal responsibility for the child. In cases of sole custody, the noncustodial parent may be able to gain visitation rights.

However, custody is a broad term, and there are specific types of custody that should also be taken into account, namely legal custody and physical custody. It’s possible for a parent to have sole physical custody but to share legal custody with the other parent, for example. If you are embarking on the child custody process, you should make sure that you know how these terms could apply to your situation.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody is the right of a parent to make important decisions on their child’s behalf. This could be making a decision on what religion they will practice, which school they attend or what type of medical treatment they should have. Legal custody is often shared between parents, but it can often lead to disputes, especially when each parent practices a different religion, for example.

What is physical custody?

Physical custody refers to which parent the child physically resides. If a parent has sole physical custody, it means that they have full responsibility for their care. Shared physical custody between parents is becoming increasingly popular.

If you know what custody arrangement you would like to attain, you should make sure that you prepare your case and are committed in your approach to gaining custody of your child.