What is child custody?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2023 | Child Custody |

One of the major concerns of parents is how they spend time with their children after a divorce, which is decided through child custody. Child custody determines the responsibilities of each parent to their children. Child custody is split between legal and physical custody. 

What is physical and legal custody? Physical custody is a parent’s duty to maintain their children’s daily routines. This often includes a parent’s obligation to house, cloth and feed their children. Legal custody allows a parent to decide how their children are raised. This can mean the parent decides whether their children go to private school, if they are given certain medical procedures or if they have a religious upbringing. 

Physical and legal custody is often decided through the custody arrangement. Here’s what you should know:

Deciding if you need joint or sole custody

Courts typically prefer parents to have joint custody. Joint custody means each parent has some physical and legal custody rights. In other words, both parents are involved in their children’s daily schedules and can make joint decisions on what they believe is best for their children’s upbringing. 

If one parent is seen as unfit to raise their children, the other may be given sole custody. Sole custody gives one parent the majority of the physical and legal rights, and the other may have some visitation rights.

Parents can work together to make a custody agreement. But, if parents have difficulties working out a plan that’s best for both of them, a court may make a custody order. This isn’t always agreeable to the parents. Parents who understand their legal options may have better outcomes when discussing child custody.