What Is the Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody?

There’s often confusion around the difference between Legal and Physical Custody.

At its simplest, those with Legal Custody have authority to make decisions for the child or children.   Physical Custody reflects where the child resides physically.  It is quite possible that there is 50/50 shared custody, with one parent having the final decision on things like doctors, schools, and so on.  That parent would have Legal Custody, while both parents would have Physical custody.  Legal custody is usually shared by both parents. This sort of conservatorship gives you the power to make crucial decisions for your child, such as where he or she attends school, what religion to educate him or her, and where he or she receives medical treatment. The location of the child’s physical custody is important. Physical custody is shared by some parents who split time with their children, while in others, only one parent has primary physical custody.


Brandon Legal Group
1209 Lakeside Drive
Brandon FL, 33510
Phone: (813)-902-3576
Email: service@brandonlegalgroup.com