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What Is Legal Custody Vs Physical Custody?

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By Liz B. Gatsby
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What Is Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

Physical custody involves the physical presence of a child with both parents. It is often a shared arrangement, where the child spends part of the week with one parent and some time with the other. The goal is to provide a stable environment for the child, in their best interests. However, the two types of custody can differ in many ways. If your child is experiencing separation from one parent, it is important to understand the difference between these two terms and how each one affects your child.

Physical custody is different from legal custody, which refers to the right to live and raise a child. While a parent may be awarded sole physical custody, this is rare unless the child is found to be unfit by a court. Physical custody can also be shared by both parents, with one parent having primary custody and the other holding secondary custody. The parent with primary physical custody of the child will have the right to make decisions regarding the child’s education, health care, and more.

When a child is involved in a custody dispute, a judge will decide the best option for the child. Most judges prefer joint physical custody because it ensures the child has regular contact with both parents. However, some states have a rule that requires a judge to automatically award joint physical custody unless both parents provide compelling evidence for denying it.

Physical custody involves the time the child spends with each parent. While both parents have legal control over the child, one parent is likely to get more parenting time with the child than the other. A week-on/week-off arrangement, a rotating weekend schedule, or a summer parenting plan are some common ways to split physical custody. These arrangements may be determined based on the child’s age, proximity to each parent, and the parents’ work schedules.

In the state of Michigan, there are two types of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines where the children will live. Joint custody is shared custody, and the parents must spend at least 40% to 60% of their time with each parent. In general, joint custody works best in cases where the parents live close enough to each other. This allows the children to have a normal routine.

Joint legal custody is the most common type of custodial arrangement. It gives both parents equal decision-making authority and access to medical and school records. Sole legal custody, on the other hand, gives one parent sole decision-making authority over the child. This arrangement is usually awarded when one parent has been proven to be incapable of making good decisions for the child.

Joint physical custody is a difficult arrangement for both parties. In some cases, parents may decide to divide physical custody and legal custody. While joint physical custody may be difficult, it will allow the children to have equal time with both parents. In these cases, the child will live with the primary parent most of the time, and the non-custodial parent will see the child on weekends, certain holidays, and for a few months each summer.

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