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Know the differences between the types of custody  

Physical custody refers to the “physical possession and control of the child.” This means the parent with physical custody is the parent with whom the child is primarily residing for greater than fifty-one percent of the time. Partial physical custody refers to the parent who is awarded custody of the child for less than fifty percent of the time. A parent having partial physical custody can have possession of the child from one percent of the time up to forty-nine percent of the time. If the parents share physical custody of the child on a fifty/fifty basis this would be primarily referred to as joint or shared physical custody.


The court must consider the best interests of the child in making a decision as to which parent is awarded physical custody. In making that consideration, the court may consider the child’s preference, the parents’ work schedules, and any other information the court deems relevant. Visitation is different from partial custody because the parent with visitation rights cannot take physical possession of the child. He or she is only allowed to spend time with the child when the child is in the control of another person, such as a supervised situation.

Legal custody refers to the parent’s authority to make major decisions in the child’s life, including those related to medical, educational, and religious matters. In the majority of cases, legal custody is shared by both parents. In very rare cases, one parent receives sole legal and physical custody - to the absolute exclusion of the other parent. In order for a court to make that decision it must be demonstrated that even the most minimal contact between the excluded parent and child is detrimental to the best interests of

the child.

Understand what legal custody means

Parents can come to an agreement about the custody of their children, or a judge can determine custody for them if an agreement cannot be reached. The attorneys at the Law Office of Marcia Binder Ibrahim, LLC have over thirty-five years of combined experience in helping parents make custody arrangements. This process can be stressful and worrisome. An experienced attorney can help relieve this stress and make this process less painful. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help. For more information, please see our page on child support.

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