What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

Contact Us Today!

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.

Why choose our firm?

We have an excellent AVVO rating from our many happy clients

We will tirelessly pursue a favorable resolution to your case

We offer aggressive and effective representation

We treat our clients with the compassion, patience, and respect that they deserve

We have more than 20 years of dedicated legal experience

We have the legal knowledge necessary to help you obtain the outcome you desire

We tailor our practice to the representation of your divorce case

What Our Clients Are Saying

I hired Susan to represent me in a divorce matter where I was fighting for custody and to limit my wife's equitable share of our assets. I won custody of our son, kept the marital residence, kept my professional practice, kept my building and paid less than half to my wife. This was after a long-term marriage. She could persuade the court that equitable is not equal and sometimes the man does deserve to win!

‐ Dave

I first must say that I had been represented by two prior attorneys both of whom had simply taken my money and left me nothing to show for it in my custody case. They kept telling me what they were doing for me but I found out they were lying. Susan on the other hand had gotten me temporary custody and support for my children and myself within two months of hiring her. I cannot say enough about her.

‐ Craig

After talking to a few other attorneys, I hired Susan to represent me in my divorce and custody dispute. I was reluctant to go with her because she was the cheapest out of all the other attorneys I met with, but I'm so glad I did. I am 100% positive no one else would have done such a great job with my case as Susan and her staff. Her work is quality, her staff is reliable and her character is honorable. There...

‐ Linda

I had a very difficult case where I had already burned through two attorneys who were unable to get me custody of my children and complete my divorce. Susan was able to rapidly work out an agreement and not let it just malinger on like my previous experiences. She was also considerate of my financial situation unlike all of the other lawyers I had spoken to. I highly recommend her if you want complete and caring service with an in-depth knowledge of...

‐ Joanne


The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. proudly serves clients throughout Suffolk County, New York in their divorce, family law, and estate planning matters. If you require the services of an experienced Suffolk County attorney, schedule a consultation with The Law Offices of Susan A. Kassel, P.C. today.

Recent Blogs


Contact Us Today!