Legal Vs. Physical Custody

dad hugging daughter in front of mom

Many parents going through the divorce process may have many questions about Pennsylvania's complicated child custody laws and procedures. For example, divorcing parents may be unaware of the differences between physical and legal custody. Our Philadelphia child custody attorney is here to explain each type of custody.

What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody is crucial in custody cases and also far more important than physical custody. Legal custody means having the obligation and the right to make legal decisions on behalf of their child.

Parents with legal custody have the right to make decisions and choices about their children's:

  • School or childcare
  • Religion
  • Mental health needs
  • Dental, vision, and health needs
  • Sports, summer camp, vacation, or extracurricular activities
  • Travel and vacations
  • Residency

When a parent has sole legal custody, they have the right to make decisions about these matters. If parents share legal custody, they both have the right to make these decisions, even if they do not agree on all of them.

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody is essentially where the child lives. It gives a parent the legal right and obligation to care for the child's daily needs.

When a parent has sole physical custody, also called primary custody, that means the child predominantly lives with that parent for a majority of the time, while the other parent will most likely have visitation rights. When parents share physical custody, the child's time is split up between each home.

Protecting Your & Your Child's Best Interests

The Philadelphia County child custody attorneys at Testa & Pagnanelli, LLC are here to provide much-needed legal representation in child custody proceedings. Whether a resolution must be reached through skilled negotiations or courtroom litigation, our team has the experience to provide effective counsel.

We are committed to getting the best possible outcome for your family. Call us today at (610) 365-4733 to discuss your child custody case.

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