What is the Difference Between Physical And Legal Custody?

When a couple goes through a divorce, there are several legal factors for them to consider. If they have children, parents must determine custody arrangements for their children. It is important to the court for parents to reach an agreement that is in the best interest of the children. If parents cannot come to an agreement, they may go to court so that a judge may do so for them. Custody arrangements determine which parent a child spends most of their time with and who is responsible for making the decisions that impact their life. Different types of custody arrangements can be considered by families going through a divorce.

Physical Custody

Physical custody is sometimes known as residential custody as well, as it determines the child’s main guardian and where they will live. This is the parent that the child will live with on a regular basis and with whom the child spends the majority of their time. It is important to know that while the child will live with this parent, they will also spend time in their other parent’s home.

Legal Custody

When divorce proceedings begin, it important for parents to understand what legal custody is. While physical custody determines where a child spends the majority of their time, legal custody covers a different part of a child’s life. Even if a parent is not awarded physical custody, they should still fight to have legal custody of their child.

When a parent is awarded legal custody, they have the right to make decisions for their child. It gives them influence in the important matters in their child’s life. This allows them to have a say in matters such as health care, academics, religious practices, and more. Maintaining this right can be very important if a custodial parent wishes to relocate with their child at any point in the future. Legal custody allows the non-custodial parent the right to speak up in the event of a possible relocation of their child.

How is Custody Determined?

When a couple goes to court during their divorce, the judge will determine the custody arrangement. This will be done with the consideration of several factors regarding that contribute to their decision. This may include but is not limited to:

  • If a parent can provide a stable home
  • If the parent will act in the child’s best interest
  • 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 the Law Offices of Haber Silver & Simpson today.

If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver & Simpson is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.