Legal Vs. Physical Custody: What Does It Really Mean?

posted on January 03, 2018 by Willingham & Cote

by Torree J. Breen, Divorce & Family Law

Have you filed an action in court to determine the custody of your child?  In doing so, the court will issue orders determining both the physical and legal custody of the child.

Physical custody is where the child sleeps at night and lives during the day to day activities. Legal custody is making the major decisions for the child such as medical treatment, school enrollment, religious instruction, and participation in extracurricular activities.

The court will evaluate the best interest of the child factors to determine both physical and legal custody. Each case is fact dependent.  The preference of the child is only one consideration.  If the judge believes the parents cannot work together for the benefit of their child, sole custody may be awarded to one parent over the other.

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