Child Custody orders concern two separate and distinct areas: Legal Custody and Physical Custody. The Court can also issue both temporary and long term (or permanent) custody orders related to your children. A Temporary Custody Order is generally entered at the beginning of a case and remains in place until the issue of long term custody is resolved either by agreement of the parties, or after the Court has considered all of the relevant evidence at trial.
It is important to consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney before entering into any agreements or contested proceedings which could impact your custodial rights.
Legal Custody orders designate which parent will have the right, and the responsibility, for making decision relating to a child’s health, education and welfare. This includes, but it not limited to: access to medical records and the authority to make medical decisions for the child; access to school records and the authority to make decisions regarding the child’s education; and other legal decisions which effect the child’s general welfare.
The Court can order that one parent have legal custody of a child, which is known as “Sole Legal Custody” or the Court can order that both parents share legal custody of a child, which is known as “Joint Legal Custody”.
Physical Custody orders designate which parent a child will primarily reside with. An order for Sole Physical Custody provides that a child will reside with one parent, subject to the Court’s authority to order visitation for the other parent. An order for Joint Physical Custody means that each parent will have significant periods of physical custody; however, an order for Joint Physical Custody does not require that the child’s time with each parent be exactly equal.
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