What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

Divorce brings about entirely new lives for people. When a couple goes through a divorce, they have to separate their lives and prepare new arrangements for the future. If they have children, one of those arrangements is custody. Custody determines which parent a child spends most of their time with and the amount of influence they can have in the child’s life. If a couple cannot come to these decisions on their own, the court will do so in the best interest of the child. Different custody arrangements can be considered by parents during a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody establishes the parent with whom the child lives and spends the majority of their time. This is why it is also known as residential custody. The parent with physical custody is sometimes referred to as the custodial parent because they are the child’s main guardian. Even though the child lives with the main guardian regularly, they will also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.

Legal Custody

Parents should understand the concept of legal custody when they are going through a divorce. Physical custody determines where a child lives while legal custody covers a different part of a child’s life. It is important for a parent to 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 matters throughout the child’s life. This gives them influence in the decisions that are made regarding issues such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. This allows both parents to be involved and have a relationship with their child. It can also help if a custodial parent wants to move with their child. Legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up 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 Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC. today.

The Law Office of Peter L. Jameson, PLLC is an experienced divorce and family law firm located in New City, NY. It is essential to retain effective legal guidance during such pivotal times in life. Contact our firm today to discuss your legal matter and get the quality legal representation you deserve.