How are legal and physical custody different?

For child custody arrangements, there are two forms of custody: legal and physical. Parents can be granted either one or even both forms of custody. When physical custody is granted to a parent, they are considered to be the custodial parent. This means that the child will reside with them most of the time. Legal custody grants parents with the authority to make important decisions in a child’s life. This can include decisions regarding education, health, religion and more.

Although physical custody means that the parent will spend more time with the child, the other parent may still have access to the child. They may have parenting time or visitation rights that grant them time with their child to bond. If a parent does not receive physical custody, they should still fight for legal custody of their child. This can ensure that they are involved in the important decisions in the child’s life and are still able to have authority over their child’s life. They can still be granted legal custody even without physical custody.

Who makes custody decisions?

During divorce proceedings, spouses may decide to go through mediation. For this method, they can work together to come up with a child custody arrangement that works for both of them. If couples are in a contested divorce, they may have to enter into litigation to decide on child custody arrangements. For this situation, a judge will decide on the matter for the couple. Judges take into account all aspects of the child’s life and family situation to ensure they are making a good decision for the child’s best interests.

In New Jersey, the court system tries to rule with the child’s overall well-being in mind. The system wants to keep a working relationship with both parents open for the child. They do not intend to cut a parent out of the child’s life unless the circumstances include abuse or the parent is deemed unfit. The judge will consider aspects involved in the parents’ lives to split custody fairly and justly. If a situation arises in the future, parents have the ability to file a motion with the court to adjust child custody arrangements.

The Law Office of Toby Grabelle, LLC is a family and divorce law firm serving Monmouth County and all of New Jersey that would be happy to assist you in legal counsel. If you need quality legal services, contact the firm for a consultation.