Home  >  Child Custody  >  The Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody

The Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody

Divorce is often a complicated process, as many emotionally charged issues must be resolved. One of the most important issues that accompanies divorce is child custody. In North Carolina, there are two differing types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody is where a child will live most of the time and can be shared between parents, depending on the agreed-upon arrangement. For instance, a court can award primary custody to one parent, meaning that a child will live with one parent for more than half the time, while the other secondary custody parent will host the child for less than half of the time. In some cases, sole physical custody is given to one parent who will care for the child exclusively.

The term legal custody, on the other hand, refers to a parent’s legal right to make life decisions for the children–for example, in matters concerning health and educational aspects of the child’s life.

Courts usually give joint legal custody to parents, but there are instances when a court can deem it in the best interest of the child to have one parent with sole legal custody.

The family law attorneys at Marshall & Taylor PLLC in Raleigh work diligently on behalf of our clients’ and their families, and we may also put our experience to work for you. Call our offices today at (919) 833-1040 to learn more.