Legal Custody Vs. Physical Custody: Understanding the Difference

Custody battles can be emotionally draining, and knowing the difference between legal custody and physical custody can help you navigate the process more easily. In this article, we’ll explain the difference between legal custody vs. physical custody and what each means for you and your child.

If you need help navigating the complexities of child custody laws in North Carolina, a Kernersville child custody lawyer can help.

What Is Custody?

Custody refers to the legal guardianship of a child. This includes both physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody refers to who has the child (when and where they will physically be), while legal custody refers to who has the right to make major decisions for the child.

Understanding Physical Custody

Physical custody refers to the physical care and supervision of a child. In North Carolina and most states, physical custody can be shared between the parents, meaning that each parent has the child for an equal amount of time. This is known as a 50/50 custody arrangement.

In 50/50 arrangements, the child may spend one week with one parent and the next week with the other. Alternatively, the parents may alternate every few days or follow a different schedule that works for them. This arrangement can be flexible and adjusted to suit the needs of the parents and the child.

However, there may be situations where a 50/50 custody arrangement is not feasible, such as when one parent works long hours or lives far away. In such cases, the court may grant one parent primary physical custody and the other parent visitation rights.

Understanding Legal Custody

Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions for the child, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Like physical custody, legal custody can also be shared between the parents in a 50/50 arrangement. This means that both parents must agree on major decisions involving the child.

However, there may be situations where the parents cannot agree on a major decision, such as pursuing a certain medical treatment for the child. In such cases, the court may grant one parent primary legal custody, giving them the final say.

Making the Best Decision for Your Child

As a family law attorney, Ron Payne of Apple Payne Law knows it’s best when both parents can agree on what’s best for the child. However, this is not always possible, and sometimes the court must step in to make the best decision for the child’s well-being.

If you are in a custody battle, it’s important to consult an experienced Kernersville family lawyer who can help you understand your rights and options. A lawyer can help you negotiate a custody arrangement with the other parent or represent you in court if necessary.

The Bottom Line

At Apple Payne Law, we understand how important it is to protect your children during a custody battle. We’re here to help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your child’s best interests are protected.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward protecting your family.

Author Bio

Ronald D. Payne II
Ronald D. Payne II is the CEO and Managing Attorney of Apple Payne Law, a North Carolina law firm he founded in 2018. With more than 11 years of experience practicing law, he is dedicated to representing clients in a wide range of legal matters, including business law, estate planning, family law, probate, and traffic law.

Ronald received his Juris Doctor from the Wake Forest University School of Law and is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including being awarded the 2020 Client’s Choice Award by Avvo and multiple Rising Star awards from Super Lawyers.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google

location map

Contact us below and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible!

Kernersville Office

900 Old Winston Rd. STE 212
Kernersville NC 27284

Winston-Salem Office

190 Charlois Blvd. Suite 200
Winston-Salem NC 27103