What do people mean when they refer to the custody of children?

Child custody is a very broad term that can cover many different aspects of the care of children. There are many different levels of child custody that all full under the umbrella term of child custody. Understanding what child custody entails is a great way to better understand and appreciate children’s lifestyles who are well aware of child custody battles and agreements.

What is Child Custody?

This is a broad question that many people do not understand. It seems as though child custody would simply mean who is in charge of the custody of the child and who they live with. This isn’t actually the case. Child custody can be broken into many different agreements. Something to keep in mind is that there is physical joint custody as well as legal joint custody and those are very different things. Let us walk you through so you can learn more about what is included in child custody.

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Physical Joint Custody

Physical custody is what many of us likely envisioned when we heard the term child custody. Physical custody determines who the child will split their time between parents. They may have 50/50 custody and spend equal amount of time with both parents or they may spend the summer with one parent and the school year with another parent. These scenario fall under physical custody. A parent can have less physical custody than the other parent and still have the same amount of legal custody over the child.

Legal Joint Custody

Legal custody is something that is often misunderstood. It seems as though the parent that the child spends the most time with would make the legal decisions that were necessary for that child, but that is not always the case. Just because the child spends more time with one parent than the other does not in any way mean the other parents is less important or capable. Sometime it is best for the child and their schedule and what they are used to to spend more time in one home in a certain city than in another.

The courts can rule to have the physical custody and time split differently and still have equal amounts of legal custody per parent. Legal custody comes into play when the parents are faced with making decisions for their underage children. Legal custody includes things like medical care and any other matter that involved a signature and approval by the parent.

Being able to split the legal custody equally even when time can not be even is a way to allow parents to still be as involved in their children’s lives as they can after divorce or other changing factors.

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