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Child custody: physical vs. legal

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2020 | Child Custody |

Addressing child custody may seem like an easy endeavor, but it can actually be quite complicated. Emotions are often intensified during custody disputes can give rise to difficult arguments which could potentially cause the subject child’s interests to get lost in the mix. To prevent this, you need to understand the law as it pertains to child custody so that you can really focus your arguments on the legal issues before you.

The two types of custody

To start, you have to understand the two types of custody that must be addressed in these cases.

  • Physical custody: This type of custody is what most people think about when they think of custody matters. Physical custody refers to where a child lives and, thus, which parent has physical control over the child. Some parents choose to split physical custody, while other cases see one parent obtain sole physical custody while the noncustodial parent exercises some sort of visitation.
  • Legal custody: Legal custody is often overlooked but can be of critical importance to the exercise of your parental rights and your child’s wellbeing. This type of custody essentially refers to decision-making power as it pertains to important life decisions for the child. Therefore, a parent with sole legal custody has the right to make all decisions pertaining to education, relying, medical treatment, and cultural observations. In many cases, parents share legal custody, meaning that they need to confer with each other and try to come to a consensus before making a decision.

Fight for the custody arrangement that is best for your child

Child custody determinations are based in what is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, when arguing your position on physical and legal custody, you need to couch your strategy in how it is best for your child. Don’t merely attack your child’s other parent. Strive to show how whatever shortcomings they have justify an order for your proposed custody arrangement. If you think you need help building and presenting your case, then consider reaching out to a family law attorney who knows how to fight for you and your child’s best interests.