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How does legal custody differ from physical custody?

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2018 | Child Custody

Working out how two Colorado parents will continue to effectively co-parent their kids after a divorce can be one of the most challenging aspects of settling the end of a marriage. While the parents may both want their kids to live permanently with them, they must make concessions and recognize how their children’s interests may be best served through the planning and implementation of a schedule for their physical care. Physical custody is the type of custody that deals with where children will live when their parents are no longer together. Legal custody is a different set of rights that parents may fight for when they must share their kids with their exes.

Unlike physical custody legal custody does not have to do with the physical location of a child. Rather, legal custody concerns itself with how a child is raised and how decisions about their care are made. A parent with physical custody can make day-to-day decisions about a child’s care, such as whether the child can go to a friend’s house after school or if the child can watch tv before finishing their homework. Legal custody has to do with big decisions that can have long-term effects on the child.

Legal custody decisions often concern the education and medical care of kids. If a child is facing an uncertain diagnosis, those who have legal custody of their care can be involved in the decision-making processes regarding how best to treat them. If there are questions concerning where a child will go to school then parents with legal custody can work together to decide between institutions for the education of their shared child.

Having legal custody means that a parent has the opportunity to weigh in on how their child is raised. It is an important parental right and one that parents can fight for with the help of their family law advisors and attorneys.