Different types of child custody

It is important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody:

  • Legal Custody – The parent has the legal authority to make major decisions for the child, such as education, religion and non-emergency medical decisions.
    • Legal custody includes sole legal custody, which is when a parent is the only person who has legal authority to make these decisions.  In addition, joint legal custody is when both parents have the legal authority to make the major decisions.
  • Physical Custody – Refers to where the child lives the majority of the time.
    • Sole physical custody is when the child resides at one location and when the non-custodial parent is awarded visitation rights, including sleepovers.  In addition, joint physical custody or shared custody is when the child lives with one parent for part of the week and with the other during the remaining time.

If you have questions regarding child custody issues, it is best to contact an experienced Orange County Family Law attorney who can answer these questions for you and advise you of your best legal options for you and your child.