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The difference between legal and physical custody

If two people decide to divorce and they have children, they may find themselves having a dispute over child custody. No matter if the couple are the same-sex or male and female, when this happens, both parties may get emotional because they may not be getting what they want, but also because their children may be affected by this dispute.

When parents are awarded custody of their children, they need to recognize that legal custody and physical custody are not the same thing. The parent who is awarded physical custody is the parent the child lives with. When granted legal custody, the parent is allowed to participate in any decision-making pertaining to the child. This means that both parents may have legal custody, but the parent with physical custody is the child's primary caregiver.

The decision to award one parent physical custody and both legal custody is a decision that may be made by the courts. When a judge makes this decision, it is because the children's parents are having difficulty finding an arrangement that they both can agree upon. If they do find that they can agree on an arrangement, they may not have to go in front of a judge and let someone else decide which parent gets what type of custody. For some, they may find that working with their children's other parent is a better option.

There are many issues that may arise during the divorce process. When dealing with any family law matter, it will be wise to contact an attorney who was familiar with these types of cases. Things should be handled in a respectful, mature manner, and with an attorney present, couples may be able to agree on things rather than engage in a heated dispute.

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