The Law Defined: Child Custody

"close-up chick" by author

“close-up chick” by author

In popular culture and media, the term “custody” gets thrown around a lot.  But what does it mean?  There are two types of custody: physical and legal.  The two are related, but have meanings that are quite different.

Physical custody: Determination of where child will live as well as who has responsibility for day-to-day care.  Courts can grant sole physical custody with right of visitation to the non-custodial parent, or grant joint physical custody where both parents share custody through a parenting plan or similar device.

Legal custody: Determination of who makes long-term and far-reaching decisions as to the child’s welfare, health, education and religion.  This does NOT include day-to-day care, such as meals and entertainment.  Courts may grant joint legal custody or sole legal custody.  Separately, if a judge grants joint custody to parents who have trouble agreeing s/he may also grant final decision-making authority to one of the parents.

This blog is an advertisement for the Law Office of Philip R. Yabut, PLLC, and the information in this post is not to be construed as legal advice, nor does reading it form an attorney-client relationship. Please do not post confidential information in the comments section.


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Law Office of Philip R. Yabut, PLLC Providing legal representation in Virginia and the District of Columbia

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