What are the Differences Between Physical And Legal Custody?

Divorce can often be a difficult time in people’s lives. Families change and couples are required to prepare for a new future. This requires them to make several decisions about the arrangements in their life. If the couple has children, they must determine custody. Custody establishes which parent a child spends most of their time with and the amount of influence they can have in the child’s life. If a couple cannot reach an agreement on their own, the court will make a decision that is in the child’s best interest. Different custody arrangements can be considered by parents during a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines which parent the child lives and spends the majority of their time with. Because it has to do with the child’s living situation, it is also known as residential custody. The parent with this custody is sometimes referred to as the custodial parent, as they are the main guardian of the child. It is important to know that while the child lives with the main guardian most of the time, they will also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.

Legal Custody

Parents should understand the concept of legal custody when they are going through a divorce. Legal custody covers a different part of a child’s life than physical custody. It is important for a parent to still fight for legal custody even if they do not have physical custody of their child.

When a parent has legal custody, they have a say in the important matters throughout the child’s life. This gives a non-custodial parent influence in the decisions made in a child’s life even though they do not have physical custody. This may include issues such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. Legal custody allows both parents to be involved and have a relationship with their child. It can also help in the event that a custodial parent wants to move with their child. Maintaining legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up in these situations.

How is Custody Determined?

When parents go to court for custody, a judge has the right to make the final decision regarding the arrangement. This requires the judge to consider different factors about the parents and their child to come to a 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 Ross & Calandrillo, LLC. today.

Ross and Calandrillo, LLC is a full-service divorce, family, and real estate law firm located in Mountainside, New Jersey. For strong legal representation in all of your divorce or family law matters, contact Ross and Calandrillo, LLC to schedule a consultation.