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What is the difference between legal and physical custody?

On Behalf of | Feb 23, 2021 | Parenting Plans And Parenting Time

If you have a child custody matter to figure out, you likely have quite a few questions about Nebraska laws on the subject. This is particularly true if you’ve never had to deal with something like this before. For example, you may want to know what types of custody the state recognizes and how they differ. Take legal and physical custody, for instance.

Legal and physical custody are two very different things. One refers to the decisions you will get to make regarding the care and raising of your children, while the other deals specifically with the amount of time you get to spend with them. While it is ideal that both parents share in these roles, in some cases, that just isn’t possible.

Making decisions falls under legal custody

If granted legal custody of your children, it means that you have the right to make various decisions for or about your children. These might include:

  • Where they go to school
  • What religion they practice
  • What kind of medical care they receive
  • How you wish to discipline them

Legal custody may be granted on a joint or sole basis. If granted joint legal custody, you and your ex will need to be willing to work together to make decisions that best benefit your children. If you or your ex obtains sole legal custody, then the person granted custody will have full control of the decision-making process.

Time with each parent falls under physical custody

If the court grants you physical custody of your children, it means your kids will get to live with you either full or part time. You’ll need sole physical custody for them to be with you full time. Most parents receive joint custody, meaning they will split time with their kids. What that looks like exactly is different for every family.

Fight for what you think is best for your family

For a long time, mothers were more likely to receive sole legal and physical custody of children in divorce or separation. That is not necessarily the case anymore, but that doesn’t mean that fathers don’t have to fight for the custody arrangements they feel are best for their families. They often do. If you find yourself in that position, know you do not have to fight alone. With the right assistance, you may achieve legal and physical custody terms that you feel best fit your family’s needs.