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Legal vs. Physical Custody Serving Families Throughout Jacksonville For Over 25 Years

Legal Custody vs. Physical Custody in a FL Divorce

Work with a Jacksonville Child Custody Lawyer

If you're currently facing a divorce or you have already begun the process, determining the custody agreement for your children will be one of the most important items on the agenda. There are many different types of child custody arrangements. These arrangements differ from case to case and vary depending on the circumstances of every divorce. First, it is important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody is the type of custody that allows a parent to make important decisions in the life of their child such as where they will go to school, what doctor they will go to, etc. Physical custody refers to the actual, physical custody of your children. A parent who retains physical custody will live under the same roof as their child.

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Factors that Determine Custody

The family court or the mediator assigned to your case will be responsible for evaluating a number of different factors in order to determine which custodial agreement will prove to serve the best interests of the children. Listed below are some of the more common variables that determine custody:

  • The occupation of both parents
  • The expendable income both parents are able to provide
  • The relationship both parents have with the children
  • Whether or not either parent has a criminal history
  • The mental and physical state of both parents

Again, these are just some of the possible determinative factors when it comes to a custodial agreement. Speak with a Jacksonville child custody lawyer from our firm if you have additional questions regarding how child custody is determined and what you can do to help your case.

Shared or Sole Parental Responsibility

In addition to the physical and legal custody distinction, there is also a distinction made between shared and sole custody. In the state of Florida, this is referred to as shared parental responsibility or sole parental responsibility. Like it sounds, shared parental responsibility means that parents share the legal decision making and physical custody of their children, while sole parental responsibility means that only one parent retains full physical custody of their child, as well as full legal decision making, while the other parent may or may not be granted visitation. Shared parental responsibility can be granted in the case of both physical and legal custody, just as sole parental responsibility can. Below is a breakdown of these custody arrangements:

  • Shared Physical Custody: This custodial arrangement involves both parents sharing physical custody. While this does not necessarily mean that each parent will have even time with their children, it does mean that the children will live at each parents' residence at different times.
  • Shared Legal Responsibility: This custodial arrangement involves both parents sharing legal custody. Sharing legal responsibility means that both parents have a say in the important decisions that will affect the lives of their children.
  • Sole Physical Custody: This custodial agreement involves only one parent being awarded the physical custody of their children. This means that, with the exception of potential visits with the non-custodial parent, the children will solely be residing with only one parent.
  • Sole Legal Responsibility: This custodial agreement involves only one parent being awarded the legal custody of their children. The parent who is granted sole legal custody will be the only parental authority able to make major decisions regarding their children's welfare.

Custody agreements can be complex. You want to present yourself in just the right way to be granted the custody arrangement that is most beneficial for you and your children.

To build a strong case in your favor, contact a Jacksonville child custody attorney from the Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A. today.

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