Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody | Santa Clarita Divorce

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody | Santa Clarita Divorce

When it comes time to discuss the custody of the children, there are two term you will want to familiarize yourself with.

Physical Custody and Legal Custody.

Legal Custody deals with the rights to make decisions about their welfare.  This includes such things as choice of religion, where they attend school, what doctor to go to and so on.

Because the courts are interested in whats best for the children of the marriage and therefore prefer that after a divorce that both parents continue to participate to make these decisions as they did when they were married.  So they prefer to keep thing where both parents share joint legal custody.

Of course, this is in cases where it is appropriate.  There are some circumstances where  a judge may be inclined to give one of the parents sole legal custody.

Physical custody refers to where the children will live on a normal basis.  Again, the Courts seem to generally prefer that parents have joint physical custody so they have equal access to both parents.

Don’t confuse joint physical custody with 50/50 custody.   One parent can be given a greater percentage of custody in a joint custody situation with the other spouse having a visitation schedule or something such as reasonable visitation.

When you file your initial divorce paperwork, you can indicate your request for physical custody and legal custody.  The same goes for the response.  When the Respondent files their paperwork they too can indicate what they want as far as physical custody and legal custody is concerned.

Physical and legal custody of the children can sometimes be an issue because it can be tied to the amount of child support a spouse may receive if one parent has more time with the children, the other parent might be required to pay more in support depending on the circumstances.

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