What is the difference between legal custody and physical care?

Most people use the word custody to mean where the children will physically be. In the courts, legal custody is determined as the right to make important decisions about your child. Examples of important decisions would be health care and education. Typically, the courts will award joint legal custody unless a parent is particularly unfit to make those decisions or even dangerous to the child’s wellbeing.

Physical care is the determination of where your child will be an when. There is no presumption that the father or mother should be the parent that has the child in his or her care most of the time. The court looks at a variety of factors in determining custody as we discuss here (insert link to How will child custody be determined). The court can order a traditional arrangement where one parent will have the child the majority of the time and then the other parent will have the child every other weekend. Another option is a “shared physical care” arrangement where each parent has the child about 50% of the time. These are just generalities. Each family has specific issues that are important. The attorneys at Kaplan & Frese, LLP will listen to your concerns and address them to your satisfaction. We work hard to be aggressive advocates for our clients without escalating the conflict between the parties. There are a lot of factors that go into developing a new plan for where your child will be an when. Visit us in Marshalltown, Iowa to discuss your particular case.

Call today at 641-753-5549 to schedule an appointment.