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What are the differences between legal and physical custody?

On Behalf of | Jul 28, 2022 | Child Custody & Parenting Time

Going through a divorce in New York is not generally an easy process. Dividing people’s lives while dealing with the emotions that come with the end of a marriage can be exhausting. While all parts of the divorce can be difficult, one of the more difficult parts can be determining the issue of child custody.

New York recognizes that parents have both rights and responsibilities toward their children. These must be divided fairly in a child custody decision.

Differences between legal and physical custody

There are two types of custody. There is legal custody and physical custody. The parent with legal custody is allowed to make the major decisions for the children. These types of decisions are medical decisions, education decisions and decisions about religious upbringing. If the parents have joint legal custody, then both parents have a right to make these decisions. If one parent has sole legal custody then only that parent makes those decisions.

The parent with physical custody makes the day-to-day decisions regarding supervision of the children. If the parents share joint physical custody then they will have equal time with the children as well. If one parent has sole physical custody, then that means they will have the children the majority of the time and the other parent has visitation with them.

Child custody determinations are very important to parents in New York. They are also very important for the children. When making these decisions, they will always be based on what is in the best interests of the children. This means that the decisions are also very fact specific and are based on the unique needs of the children. Experienced attorneys understand the importance of these decisions and may be a useful resource.