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Legal Vs. Physical Child Custody

Blogs from June, 2019


Divorces are complicated and messy, but child custody fights are often the biggest source of contention between divorcing spouses. Despite the importance of child custody fights, many Pasadena parents don’t know the difference between legal child custody and physical child custody. Thankfully, child custody attorney Christopher Hoglin is here to clear up the confusion!

Physical Child Custody

Physical custody is when a parent has the right to care for and house his or her child. There are two kinds of physical custody agreements, sole physical custody, and joint physical custody.

When a parent has sole physical custody, he or she is the single physical provider for the child. While the other parent may have to make child support payments, the parent with sole physical custody creates the living space for the child. The parent who does not have sole physical custody will potentially see the child on a visitation schedule arranged in court but does not house the child.

Joint physical custody is when both parents share the responsibility of physically caring for a child’s needs. Joint physical custody does not mean both parents have an equal claim to care for the child; it only means that both parents share the responsibility. Therefore, one of the parents with joint physical could potentially pay child support to the other.

Now that we covered physical custody, let’s move on to legal custody.

Legal Child Custody

Legal custody of a child is when a parent has the right to make legal decisions on behalf of the child.

A parent’s legal custody-based decisions include the following and more:

  • where a child will go to school;

  • whether a child will engage in religious activities; and

  • whether a child should receive medical care (except in emergencies).

Like physical child custody arrangements, parents can share joint legal custody of a child, or one parent may have sole legal custody of a child. If parents share legal custody, they must come together to make and compromise on legal decisions that will impact their child’s life. If the parents cannot agree on a specific legal decision, a judge may have to rule on the outcome.

If a parent has sole legal custody of a child, he or she can make all the legal decisions for the child without consulting the other parent. However, the other parent can bring the sole legal custody parent to court if he or she believes the legal decision hurts the child in some way.

Get Representation that Cares for Your Family

The child custody process is difficult, but with the right representation, it can be easier! The Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin has helped hundreds of clients with their family law needs, which means you can rely on the Hoglin Law team!

Call (626) 653-4075 now to set up a consultation for your child custody case!

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