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What's the difference between legal and physical custody?

When you're going through a divorce, there are a lot of new terms that get thrown around without much explanation for those involved. This is especially true when it comes to custody, which takes several different forms. One of the most commonly misunderstood is the difference between physical custody and legal custody.

With that in mind, let's clear up these two terms once and for all. Physical custody is fairly straightforward as it's a term that means exactly what it sounds like it means: it's the place the child will actually reside. The other parent will then agree to a visitation schedule.

Legal custody, on the other hand, speaks to the legal rights a parent will have in raising the child. In other words, where will the child go to school? What sort of religious upbringing will he or she be exposed to? What medical care will the child receive? In most cases, both parents will share legal custody and will make decisions together regarding the child's life and future.

However, if one parent is found to be unfit, sole legal custody may be awarded. This means that one parent will have the final word on everything to do with the child's life and the other parent will have to abide by it.

If you're facing the prospect of a child custody battle, you may want to have an attorney by your side to explain to you how the process works. He or she may be able to use an extensive knowledge of the process to help you make sure your rights are protected.

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Minutes From Downtown Sacramento

Our office is conveniently located off Highway 50, just three miles from the Sacramento County Family Courthouse and minutes from Downtown Sacramento. For your convenience, we accept all major credit cards.

Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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