Home > Statesville Legal Services Blog > Understanding the Differences between Physical Child Custody and Legal Custody

185510636-Child custodyIf you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, you may be concerned about how this decision will affect the time you have to spend with your children. Before child custody proceedings begin, it’s important that you understand the two different types of custody that may be awarded:

Physical Child Custody 

Physical custody refers to the parent who takes physical care of the children. However, in a child custody case, you may be awarded either joint physical custody or primary physical custody. If you are awarded primary physical custody, you will take care of your children the majority of your time. However, if you are granted joint physical custody, you will have to share physical parenting time with your ex-spouse.

Legal Child Custody

Legal child custody is defined as the parent who makes major decisions about their children. Like physical custody, you can either be awarded joint legal custody or primary legal custody. If you are given primary legal custody, you will have full authority to make decisions relating to where your children go to school, what medical treatments they receive, what activities they participate in, and their religious upbringing. However, if you are granted joint legal custody, you will have to make these decisions in partnership with your former spouse.

Child custody proceedings are often the most emotionally difficult aspect of the divorce process. If you want to make sure your children’s best interests are protected at this time, contact me, W. Sloan Goforth, Attorney at Law.