What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

Divorce has the power to change an entire family and the lives they once knew. When a couple goes through a divorce, they have to prepare the new arrangements that separate lives for the future. If the couple has children, they must determine custody. Custody arrangements establish the parent that a child spends most of their time in addition to the amount of influence a parent can have in the child’s life. In the event that a couple cannot reach agreements on their own, the court will make decisions that are in the best interest of the child. Different custody arrangements are available to parents during a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody determines which parent the child spends the majority of their time and who they will live with this parent. This is why it is sometimes referred to as residential custody. The parent that is awarded 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 also spend time in the non-custodial parent’s home.

Legal Custody

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

With legal custody, a parent can be involved in making important decisions that impact the child’s life. This allows them to have influence over 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. Maintaining legal custody allows the non-custodial parent to have a say in these decisions.

How is Custody Determined?

If parents need to go to court to determine custody arrangements, a judge will make the final decision. Several factors regarding the parents and their child are considered by the judge 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 Paris P. Eliades Law Firm LLC. today.

Paris P. Eliades Law Firm, LLC is honored to serve the people of New Jersey, including Sparta, Sussex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Bergen County with the quality legal services they deserve. Contact our firm for a consultation today.