What Is the Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?

October 4th, 2016

One of the most important issues divorce attorneys in Beaverton OR deal with is child custody. Laws concerning child custody are very complicated.

It takes an experienced and knowledgeable family lawyer to help a parent obtain the child custody order they desire, and that is best for their family.

One of the questions most frequently asked by a parent going through a divorce is the difference between legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody can be sole or joint. Sole legal custody is when one parent makes all the decisions regarding the child. Joint legal custody is when both parents share custody and have equal decision-making ability concerning the child’s welfare (education, health care, and other similar issues).

Physical custody has to do with parenting time (also known as visitation). It refers to the parent that the child spends the most time.

So a parent with sole custody is also the parent who has physical custody. If the parents have joint custody, physical custody belongs to the parent that the child spends the most time with.

If you are the parent that spends the lesser amount of time with your child, you’ll need a parenting time plan. To learn more about legal custody and physical custody, contact Ronald Johnston, an experienced divorce attorney in Beaverton OR.

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