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What’s the Difference Between Legal Custody and Physical Custody?

In short, legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s upbringing, such as education, religion, and medical care. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will live. 

When you’re dealing with a child custody issue in Orlando, you deserve to have trusted legal advocacy on your side. An experienced child custody lawyer can help you fight to protect your relationship with your child, giving you compassionate guidance for your custody matter. Until then, read this blog post for further insight into the differences between legal and physical custody.

In Florida, legal custody is the right of a parent to make decisions about their child’s upbringing. This includes decisions about education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Legal custody can be joint or sole. Sole legal custody means that only one parent has the right to make these decisions, and courts usually only grant this if one parent is incarcerated or has a history of abuse or neglect.

If you have joint legal custody, it means that both parents have the right to make decisions about their child’s upbringing. This will require both parents to communicate with one another. If you’re not able to communicate and work together effectively, joint legal custody may not be right for you. 

What Is Physical Custody?

In Florida, physical custody refers to where the child lives. When it comes to physical custody, there are two types: sole physical custody and joint physical custody. 

Sole physical custody means that the child will live with only one parent. The other parent will typically have visitation rights. Joint physical custody, on the other hand, means that the child will live with both parents on a rotating basis. 

Primary Physical Custody in Florida

If you and your co-parent are unable to come to an agreement about visitation rights, the court will make a decision for you. In making its decision, the court will always prioritize what is in the best interest of your child

There are many factors that the court will consider when determining what is in the best interest of the child. Some of these factors include: 

  • The child’s age 
  • The child’s health 
  • The distance between the two homes 
  • The ability of each parent to provide a stable home environment 
  • The employment schedules of each parent 
  • The child’s relationship with each parent 
  • Each parent’s involvement in the child’s schooling and extracurricular activities 
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse 

It’s important to note that even if one parent has primary physical custody, the other parent may still have visitation rights. These visitation rights can be negotiated between the two parents or ordered by the court. 

Courts are hesitant to eliminate a parent from a child’s life as the best interests of a child include having both parents in their life, supporting them, and helping raise them. If, however, one parent is unavailable to be a parent or has a documented history of abuse or neglect, a court may then provide sole physical custody to one parent.

Be aware, however, that this isn’t permanent; if a parent can show they’ve changed the course of their life, they may slowly be allowed to become part of their child’s life again.

Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today

Your relationship with your child is important. You may want to keep or regain custody to ensure your relationship continues to thrive.

For more information, contact our experienced Orlando divorce lawyers at Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC by calling (407) 831-0203 to schedule a free consultation.

Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803
United States

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