19/09/16 Custody in Family Law
Family law refers to a parent who has been awarded sole physical custody of a child, or with whom the child primarily lives. The custodial parent is primarily responsible for the day-to-day care of the child. Commonly, parents are assigned joint physical and legal custody, which means they legally share parental duties, but it is necessary for the court to specifically state, in any custody and visitation order, where the child will spend most of his time.
In a divorce, the custodial parent is the parent with whom the couple’s child primarily resides, and who cares for and supervises the child on a daily bases. It is not necessary for the court to have awarded one parent sole physical custody to be considered a custodial parent, as even in the most common assignment of joint physical custody, the parent who has more time with the child is considered custodial.
Additionally, when a reference is made to the custodial parent, it most commonly refers to the parent with the most physical time with the child, and doesn’t refer to legal custody. In many cases, the court may refer to the custodial in a joint physical custody situation the “primary custodial parent.”
Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody
Legal custody refers to the right and responsibility of one or both parents to make decisions about how their child is raised. This includes key issues of the child’s education, religious upbringing, extra-curricular activities, and medical care.