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What do I need to know about child custody?

On Behalf of | Feb 1, 2024 | Child Custody

If you’re a parent going through a divorce, then one of the things you may be prioritizing is child custody. Child custody determines each parent’s role in their child’s life. 

There are a lot of different parts to child custody. Here’s what you need to know:

What are legal and physical custody?

To begin to understand child custody, you may first need to learn about legal and physical custody. Legal and physical custody decides how parents are involved in their child’s life. 

Legal custody is a parent’s right to decide how their child is raised. In other words, a parent with legal custody could decide if their child is homeschooled or goes to public or private school. Or, they may attend their child’s doctor’s appointments and make decisions for their child’s health. 

Physical custody determines a parent’s obligation to maintain their child’s daily routine. This often involves providing food, shelter and clothing to their children. This can also mean a parent is responsible for picking their children up from school.

What are sole and joint custody?

Whether a parent has legal and/or physical custody is often determined by sole or joint custody arrangements. A parent with sole custody would have full legal and physical custody of their child with little to no involvement from the other parent. 

However, courts often prefer joint custody. Joint custody gives both parents some legal and physical custody rights to share. Parents will typically communicate often to determine what’s best for their child. 

Every child custody case is unique, which is why the matter can appear complicated. If you’re researching child custody, then you may need legal guidance to learn more.


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