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The difference between physical and legal child custody

When a couple has a child together, they often split duties when it comes to raising that child. However, when couples break up it’s not always as easy to determine who will take care of the childrearing responsibilities. In many cases, each parent will want significant time with the child. When this happens, a child custody dispute is likely. In a child custody dispute, the courts will be tasked with determining which parent will receive physical custody and which parent should receive legal custody.

It is important for parents in Arkansas to understand the difference between physical custody and legal custody. By understanding these differences, people can know what rights they are fighting for in a child custody dispute.

Physical custody describes the custody granted to the parent who is taking care of the child’s day-to-day needs. Physical custody is the right to be with the child. The parent with physical custody generally gets significant amount of time with the child and the other parent may get visitation. In some cases, sole physical custody is awarded and only one parent has this privilege. In other cases, joint physical custody is appropriate.

Legal custody, on the other hand, is the right to make decisions about important parts of the child’s life. In most cases, joint legal custody is preferred. Legal custody includes the right to make educational, religious and healthcare related decisions for the child. These are often big picture issues that affect the child’s upbringing.

It is important for parents in Arkansas to understand all of these terms and how they affect their personal situation. Child custody cases are often very emotional and it can be hard to keep all of these terms straight.

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