What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

Going through a divorce can be a difficult process. It can change an entire family and the lives they once knew. When a couple goes through a divorce, there are several new arrangements for them to consider and decide on. If they have children, the parents must determine custody. Custody arrangements establish the parent that a child spends the majority of their time with. It also can determine the amount of influence a parent has in their child’s life. If spouses cannot reach agreements regarding this situation on their own, the court will make the decision for them.

Physical Custody

One of the biggest parts of determining custody is deciding where a child will live and spend most of their time. This aspect is covered by physical custody. This type of custody decides which parent the child spends the majority of their time and who they will live with. The parent with physical custody is the child’s custodial parent because they are the main guardian. Even though the child lives with the main guardian, they will spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home as well.

Legal Custody

The concept of legal custody is different than that of physical custody. This is very important for parents to know while determining custody arrangements. Parents should still fight for legal custody even if they do not have physical custody.

When a parent is awarded legal custody, they are given the right to be involved in the decision-making throughout their child’s life. This allows them to have influence over important matters such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. Legal custody gives parents the chance to be involved in their child’s life and have a relationship with them. It can also be beneficial if the custodial parent wants to move with their child. Having legal custody lets the non-custodial parent have a say in the event of this issue.

How is Custody Determined?

When parents go to court to determine custody arrangements, a judge has the ability to make the final decision. They do so with the best interest of the child in mind by considering several factors regarding the parents and their child before they come to a decision. This may include:

  • 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 Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.

Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today for a free consultation.