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Physical versus legal custody of minor children

Family separations have many complications, especially if they involve minor children. Fighting for custody is not an easy battle and has several key considerations.

As you prepare for your child custody case, you should understand the difference between legal and physical child custody.

Physical custody

When you have physical custody, your children live with you and you take on the responsibility of providing their daily needs. As their primary physical custodian, you provide your children with housing, transportation, food and any other needs they have every day.

Legal custody

When you have legal custody of your children, you have the right to make major decisions for them. For example, you can choose what schools they attend, who their physicians are, what medical treatments they receive and any religious training or upbringing they receive. This custody is not about where the child lives.

Shared custody

You can also receive shared physical and legal custody. Shared legal custody is common among parents because the courts see the value in giving both parents a say in the raising of their children. However, the courts also see the value in having both parents in their children’s lives, so shared physical custody has become commonplace.

Typically, you have specific visitation schedules. The goal is to give the children a home and keep them from feeling like they bounce around all the time.

For the best custody results, try to work with your former spouse on a custody agreement that is in your children’s best interest.