Child custody can be a very complicated topic in the world of family law. That is because divorcing and separating parents can have different ideas about what they believe to be the best ways to raise their kids when they are no longer under the same rooves. In the end, parents may share custody of their kids or one parent may be granted the physical custody of them so that the children have only one place to call home.

When a parent has the exclusive physical custody of their children, they are often called the custodial parent. That makes the other parent the noncustodial parent. A recent post on this blog discussed the role of visitation in custody cases and noncustodial parents can fight for their rights to visitation time with their kids. A noncustodial parent can, however, also secure legal custody rights over their kids even if those youths do not live with them.

A parent with legal custody has the power to have decision-making power over certain child-rearing topics. A parent can object to where their child goes to school with legal custody, or may have their opinions heard and considered when decisions about medical care are made regarding their children. In essence, a parent with legal custody can still make parenting choices even if they do not see their kids each and every day.

In some cases the courts may find that parents cannot work together to serve their kids’ needs and in such cases one parent may be given legal custody of their kids. It is not possible for this post to address all possible custody outcomes and therefore readers are asked to discuss their child custody questions with their family law attorneys.