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What Is the Difference Between Physical & Legal Custody? January 23, 2018

Torrington, Litchfield
What Is the Difference Between Physical & Legal Custody?, Torrington, Connecticut

When people think of child custody, they usually define it as where the kid will live and how visitation is allocated. However, these components make up only half of the equation. To protect the rights of parents and their relationships with their children, family law in most states also recognizes “legal custody,” which is independent of physical living arrangements. Understanding the difference between these two types of custody is instrumental in achieving a fair parenting plan that upholds everyone’s best interests.

What Is Physical Custody?

family lawA parent with physical custody is one who legally lives with their children, either on a full-time or part-time basis. While courts may often award one parent sole custody with the other granted only visitation rights, in most cases, they prefer to preserve relationships with joint-custody arrangements. Bear in mind that joint custody does not automatically mean equal time with both parents; so, the kid may spend more time at one house than the other, and you may still be ordered to pay child support.

How Does Family Law Define Legal Custody?

Legal custody is the parent’s right to make important decisions on behalf of their children. These matters might include everything from where they go to school, what health care they receive, and what their religious upbringing will be. Most states, including Connecticut, default to a shared legal custody arrangement, even if one parent is awarded sole custody. However, in cases of abuse or other extraordinary circumstances, family law courts may decide to terminate a parent’s right to make decisions for their children.


Whether you’re going through a divorce or want to amend a child custody order, the family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Conti & Levy will provide you with the legal guidance and effective representation you need. Over the years, they’ve built a reputation throughout Torrington, CT, for combining partner-level service with the individualized care you would expect from a boutique firm. To schedule your free consultation today, visit their website or call (860) 482-4451, and follow their Facebook for more legal tips and insight.

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