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What is the difference between legal and physical custody?

| Mar 23, 2021 | Child Custody |

Child custody is an important family law topic that can be related to Michigan divorces or separate issues between unmarried parents. When the custody of a child is in question, Oakland parents may be confused to learn that child custody involves more than one type of custodial care. Legal custody and physical custody are both significant elements in a child custody plan.

This post will generally discuss legal and physical custody without providing any legal advice. When an individual has questions about child custody in their own life, they can take their inquiries to their trusted family law attorney. Child custody impacts parental rights, and parents can fight to maintain their relationships and contact with their children.

What is legal custody?

Parenting is a big job and with it comes the need to make many decisions about a child’s life. When a parent retains legal custody of their child, they can continue to make those decisions about their child’s health, education, and religious upbringing. In some cases, parents will each retain legal custody after a divorce or separation. There are situations, however, where legal custody may be granted solely to one parent.

What is physical custody?

Kids cannot live on their own – that is why the courts take custody very seriously. A responsible and caring adult must be available to protect and provide for a child while they are a minor. When a parent has physical custody of their child, that means that the child is under their care and staying in the parent’s home. Like legal custody, physical custody can be shared between parents or it may be given to one parent if circumstances warrant such an outcome.

Child custody involves finding the right balance of parental rights between legal and physical custody. It means finding the best solutions to ensuring children are cared for, whether those solutions involve joint or sole custody determinations. Parents do not have to work for these outcomes alone. They can solicit the help of trusted family law attorneys to guide them through their child custody matters.