What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

When a divorce happens, a couple is required to consider new arrangements for their future. If they have children, the parents have to determine their custody situation. It is important to the court that an agreement is reached that is in the best interest of the children. If parents cannot do so, they may go to court so that a judge can make the decision for them. Custody determines which parent a child spends most of their time with and who is responsible for making the important decisions in their life. Different types of arrangements exist to be considered by parents going through a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, sometimes known as residential custody, determines the child’s main guardian. This also settles where the child will live. The parent with physical custody is also known as the custodial parent, as they are the one with whom the child will live and spend the majority of their time. It is important to know that while the child will reside with this parent, they will also spend time in their other parent’s home.

Legal Custody

It is important for parents to understand the concept of legal custody while going through a divorce. While physical custody determines where a child resides, legal custody covers a different part of a child’s life. Even if a parent is not given physical custody, they can still fight for legal custody.

When a parent is awarded legal custody, they are involved in making important decisions for their child. It allows them to have an influence on the important parts of their child’s life. This may include matters such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. Having this right can be very important in the event that a custodial parent may want to relocate with their child at any point. Legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up and have a say in these situations.

How is Custody Determined?

When a couple goes to court during their divorce, the judge will determine the custody arrangement. This will be done with the consideration of several factors regarding that contribute to their 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 Sarina Gianna, LLC today.

Matters of divorce and family law require the attention and skill of an experienced attorney who will fight for your future. If you need a divorce and family law attorney in Ocean County, New Jersey, contact the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC today to schedule a consultation.