What Does Legal Custody & Physical Custody Mean?
The word legal custody defines the authority to make the choices of behalf of a child that is a minor or has not yet reached an age where they can take such decisions. The matters where legal custody can be exercised include a number of different aspects such as:
- Decision on religion
- Welfare of the child, etc.
In most cases, the courts order joint legal custody, because both parents are seen to have the right to mutually make decisions regarding the health, education and welfare of their children.
Whereas legal custody has to do with decision-making authority, physical custody actually involves the use of parenting time and being able to care for the children physically. In other words, which parent has the children when determines what the physical custody is. Although there is no hard and fast rule, most judges label physical custody as “sole physical custody” where one parent has less than a 30% timeshare and “joint physical custody” if the other parent has at least 30% custodial timeshare.
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