Custody means caring for and being responsible for another person.

There are two kinds of child custody:

  • Physical custody: Who the child lives with. When the child spends significant time at both parents’ homes, they have joint physical custody. If the child lives with one parent, that parent has sole physical custody.
  • Legal custody: Who makes decisions about a child’s health, education, and welfare. For example, who chooses the child’s school, doctors, or religion. When both parents have the right to make these decisions, they have joint legal custody. When just one parent does, that parent has sole legal custody.

Sometimes, if you and your partner can’t agree about who gets custody of your child and when, you may need to schedule and then attend a custody hearing to establish custody.


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