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Divorce 101: Legal Custody versus Physical Custody

On Behalf of | Dec 15, 2014 | Firm News

In Indiana, there are two types of custody that must be determined in each case involving minor children : (1) legal custody and (2) physical custody.

Physical custody is simply a description of the parenting time each parent has with the children. People often use the term “sole physical custody,” but this phrase is a misnomer because rarely does a parent have no parenting time. The more appropriate phrase for the parent that has the majority of parenting time is “primary physical custody.”

Legal custody, on the other hand, determines who can make the major life decisions for the child. Typically, major life decisions are those concerning medical decisions, educational decisions, and religious decisions. While there is no default legal custody, more often than not if it is left up to the court, joint legal custody will be ordered unless one parent or the other shows that the parents absolutely cannot communicate or agree on anything.

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