What’s the difference between legal and physical custody?

One question that many parents going through a custody matter often ask is what the difference is between legal and physical custody, and which one is more important. Custody can quickly become confusing and stressful for those who have never had to handle a matter of this sort. No parent wants to go from seeing their child every day to maybe seeing them only on weekends or a few times a month. When a court makes the decision regarding custody, they are deciding based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child.

Parents always want to know which parent will be the one who spends most of the time with the child. This parent is granted physical/residential custody and is considered the custodial parent. In some situations, parents can have joint physical custody where they will share the child’s time 50/50.

The other form of custody is known as legal custody. It allows the parent to make decisions that have a serious impact on the child’s life. The non-custodial parent can still obtain legal custody, even if they don’t have physical custody. Some of the decisions a parent with legal custody may be able to make can include those related to the child’s academic life, social life, religious practices, and health-related decisions. It is essential that the non-custodial parent tries to obtain legal custody, otherwise the relationship between that parent and the child may feel the negative consequences.

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.