What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

When a couple divorces, they must consider several legal factors. If they have children, the parents are required to determine custody arrangements for these children. A divorce can affect an entire family. It is important to the court for parents to come to a custody agreement that is in the best interest of their children. In the event that parents cannot come to an agreement, they may need the court to do so for them. Custody arrangements settle which parent a child spends most of their time with and who is responsible for making the decisions that impact their life. Different types of custody arrangements can be considered by families going through a divorce.

Physical Custody

When a parent is awarded physical custody of their child, it means they are their main guardian. Also known as residential custody, this arrangement determines where the child lives. The child will live with this parent on a regular basis. This is the parent with whom the child spends 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

When a divorce begins, it important for parents to understand legal custody. While physical custody determines where a child spends the majority of their time, legal custody covers a different aspect of the child’s life. Even if a parent is not awarded physical custody, they should still fight for legal custody of their child.

When a parent has legal custody, they have the right to make decisions for their child. It gives them a degree of influence over the important matters in their child’s life. This allows them to have a say in matters regarding health care, academics, religious practices, and more. Ensuring a parent has this right can be very important in the event that a custodial parent wishes to relocate with their child. Acquiring legal custody of the child allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up in the event of a possible relocation of their child.

How is Custody Determined?

When a couple goes to the court during their divorce, the judge will determine the custody arrangement. This judge will consider several factors regarding the family’s circumstances that contribute to their decision. This may include but is not limited to:

  • If a parent can provide a stable home
  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • 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 Offices of Stone Crosby, P.C. today.

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 firmtoday to schedule a consultation.

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