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Custody
Divorce and Marriage Law

What does primary physical and legal custody mean?

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March 29, 2012 1:57PM

There are two types of custody recognized by law: physical and legal.

Physical custody pertains to who the child lives with. Legal custody pertains to who is responsible for making decisions on the child's behalf.

If you have sole physical custody the child lives with you all the time, although the other parent may be given specific visitation rights allowing them to have the child in their care at certain times and the other parent my have shared legal custody.

If you have sole legal custody you are the parent with the authority to make all decisions for the child: school, choice of doctors and dentists, what kind of medical treatment they receive, what sports they play, etc. If you have shared legal custody both parents have the right to make decisions regarding the child.