Physical and legal custody

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Updated: 4/13/2007 3:35 pm
Legal custody of a minor child generally means the right and responsibility to decide major issues of health, education, and welfare affecting the child. In contrast, physical custody means the right and responsibility to make day to day decisions relating to the child. A parent granted one form of custody, may not necessarily be granted the other. For instance, a judge can order one parent to have sole physical custody, yet order the legal custody to be joint between both parents. In cases of joint legal custody, both parents share the right and responsibility to make decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of the child. That means that the parents have a duty to discuss such major issues with each other and make joint decisions affecting their child. Consultation with an attorney familiar with domestic law may help in answering your questions regarding custody.

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