the Difference Between Physical Custody and Legal Custody

Understanding the Difference Between Physical Custody and Legal Custody

Pierre Domercq Child Custody and Visitation

What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody in an Oceanside, Encinitas or Carlsbad divorce?  When we speak of child custody and parenting time in California they are rooted in the legal concepts of physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody is associated with the right to have a child live within your household. Legal custody is associated with the right to make important decisions regarding the health and welfare of a child.

Physical custody may be granted as sole custody or joint custody. Physical custody is addressed within the parenting plan. In joint custody agreements or orders the child spends roughly 50% of their time with each parent. In sole custody orders the child usually lives with one parent full time and visits with the other parent on a schedule such as every other Wednesday and every other weekend.  Issues of custody, visitation and parenting time should be established in detail within the “Parenting Plan.”

Legal custody can also either be joint or sole, and is the legal authority to make important decisions regarding issues such as healthcare, education, religious practices and other issues as the children grow up.

It is important to understand the difference between physical custody and legal custody as you approach a divorce with children.  The court will look closely at the communications between the parties and the general nature of their ability to work with one another. A party who is unnecessarily difficult may actually damage their custody, visitation and parenting time goals.

This is why it is important to seek the advice and counsel of the proven family law attorneys at Burke & Domercq. Our Certified Family Law Specialists have represented parents before Carlsbad family law courts for decades.  We invite you to review the comments and recommendations of our clients and the legal industry and contact us or call 760-712-3741 to schedule an appointment.