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Are physical custody and legal custody the same?

Are physical custody and legal custody the same?

Throughout divorce cases, child custody can be a sensitive topic. It may raise issues between spouses that may not allow for a resolution to be decided upon. If the former couple cannot decide on child custody arrangements, the court will become involved and make the decision for the child. The court becomes vital in this situation because they are supposed to act in the best interests of the child. Through the court’s involvement, a judge can be presented with the case and consider all the factors that affect the child. It is important for the judge to make decisions based on the child’s health and safety since the child is not able to do so for his or herself.

During child custody cases, it is beneficial to have a professional attorney representing your side. As a parent, you want to ensure that your child has a good future ahead of them. This decision can have an impact on that.

What is the difference between physical and legal custody?

In cases deciding custody arrangements for families, judges consider physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody grants spouses time with the child. When physical custody is granted, it names one parent as the custodial parent. This means that the child will live with that named parent. However, the other parent may be entitled to custody as well. They will just not be the custodial parent.

Sole custody is when one parent has the child reside with them permanently. The other parent may not be entitled to time with the child. Instead, they may be granted visitation time. This may not be sufficient for some parents. For other parents, it may be the only option due to a previous history that may negatively affect the child.

Legal custody is different than physical custody because it does not grant the parent time that they will be spending in the presence of their child. Instead, legal custody refers to the important decisions in a child’s life. When a parent is granted legal custody of their child, they can make decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion and their general welfare.

Can I be given legal custody if I do not have physical custody?

Parents can still acquire legal custody of their child even if they are not granted physical custody. There may be many reasons why a judge does not grant physical custody to a parent. However, this may be unrelated to their decision of granting legal custody. When parents are involved in these cases, our firm recommends always fighting for your rights as a parent. Even if you are not granted physical custody, legal custody can give you control of your child’s life that can keep you involved and informed. As a parent, we know that this is important to maintain a relationship with your child. We want to ensure that this relationship continues to develop.

Why is child custody decided by a judge?

If couples go through mediation, they may be able to decide on child custody together. However, both spouses must cooperate in this process and the decision may be hard to make. One parent may not be satisfied with the outcome. Since this is a hard resolution for parents to agree on, it is then brought to court. In court, a judge can hear both sides and come to a fair and just conclusion based on the information.

Child custody cases are often highly emotional due to the sensitivity of a parent-child relationship. At our firm, we understand the importance of family and the bond with your child. Contact us for a consultation and we can help you through the process.

Stone Crosby, P.C. has proudly served clients in Alabama for over 100 years. Our firm has experience handling matters including divorce and family law, estate planning and administration, business law, employment law, class actions, consumer protection, business law, real estate law, among many others. If you require quality legal representation, contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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