What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

When a divorce happens, a couple has to figure out the new arrangements of their lives. If they have children, one of those things is custody. Custody arrangements determine which parent a child spends most of their time with. It also establishes the influence a parent can have in their child’s life. In the event that a couple cannot come to these decisions on their own, the court will do so for them in the best interest of the child. Different custody arrangements are available to be considered by parents during a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines which parent the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. Because of this, it is also known as residential custody. This parent is also referred to as the custodial parent because they are the child’s main guardian. Despite which parent has physical custody and where the child lives regularly, they will also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.

Legal Custody

It is crucial that parents understand the concept of legal custody is when they are going through a divorce. Physical custody determines where a child lives but legal custody covers a different part of a child’s life. A parent should still fight for legal custody even if they do not have physical custody of their child.

When a parent has legal custody, they have a say in the important decisions throughout the child’s life. This allows them to have an influence when making decisions regarding issues such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. This is important because it allows both parents to be involved and have a relationship with their child. It can also be beneficial if a custodial parent wants to move with their child. Legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up and have a say in these situations.

How is Custody Determined?

When parents go to court for custody, a judge has the right to make the final decision regarding a custody arrangement. The judge considers different factors about the parents and their child to come to a decision. This may include but is not limited to:

  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • If the parent can provide a stable home
  • The relationship between the child and each parent
  • Any history of abuse
  • The needs and safety of the child
  • The preference of the child if they are of sufficient age

Contact our Firm

If you or a family member is going through a divorce and seeking legal representation for child custody, contact The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

Matters of divorce and family law should be navigated with the guidance of an experienced attorney. If you need strong legal representation regarding matters of divorce, family law, and estate law, contact the Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. to schedule a consultation today.