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Child custody: physical custody versus legal custody

67009510_S.jpgThere's no use denying that a divorce or separation can very often be an intense ordeal. There are many contentious issues that can crop up, and the issue of child custody is commonly the most contentious. People have strong feelings about the place and manner of the upbringing of their children. Both divorcing and separating couples may find themselves in a child custody dispute.

Springfield parents should be aware that the term "child custody" can refer to two distinct legal concepts, both of which must be addressed when child custody is an issue. The first concept is called physical custody. When a parent is granted physical custody of a child, it means that that parent has the right to have the child live with them for a specified period of time. In some cases, the parents will be awarded joint physical custody, especially when the parents live near each other. In other cases, one of the parents will be awarded sole physical custody, and the other will be awarded visitation rights.

In addition to physical custody, "child custody" can also refer to legal custody. Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make important life decisions for the child. These decisions can include things such as the religion the child will be brought up in and the school the child will attend. It's common for parents to be awarded joint legal custody, meaning that the parents must cooperate and make decisions jointly for their children. If one parent tries to deprive the other of legal custody rights, the deprived parent can petition a court for an order to enforce the joint legal custody decree.

Most parents will agree that the issue of child custody is an absolutely vital one. Getting legal assistance is usually a great idea for a parent facing a child custody issue.

Source: FindLaw, "The Various Types of Child Custody," accessed on Feb. 18, 2017

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