When a case before the family court involves minor children, the Judge is required to make a ruling on the issues of legal and physical custody.
Legal custody involves a parent’s ability to make major life decisions for their child. It involves questions such as where to send a child to school, major medical decisions, what religion to raise your child in, among other issues. Physical custody refers to the child’s living arrangements.
Custody can be designated either as sole or joint for both physical and legal custody. Sole custody means only one parent has those custody rights, whereas joint custody means both parents have those custody rights.
If the decision is made to award joint legal custody to the parents of a child, it means that both parents have equal say in making the important decisions in their child’s life. If one parent is awarded sole legal custody it means that only that parent is responsible for making those important life decisions for their child. If physical custody is ordered to be joint it means that the child lives with both parents for a comparable portion of time.