Child custody matters are something the court approaches with seriousness since there is so much at stake in the decisions it makes. The court has the ability to assign two different types of custody along with visitation rights.
Findlaw explains the two types of child custody are legal and physical.
Legal custody is the right to make decisions for your child. This includes decisions regarding healthcare, education, religion and other important aspects of the child’s life. You can consider this the right to make big decisions regarding the care and raising of your child.
You should note that everyday decisions, such as what your child eats or whether he or she can go play at the park, are not part of legal custody. Both parents have these decision-making rights when they have the child in their physical custody.
Physical custody is when you have the child physically with you. Typically, the child will live with the parent who receives physical custody and have visitation with the other parent. However, during visitations, the other parent would have some type of physical custody.
Joint and sole custody
The court can award custody in any way it feels is best for your child. Sole custody means only you have that type of custody. Joint custody means you share the custody rights. You could receive sole legal and physical custody or you could share legal custody with the other parent and receive sole physical custody. It is also possible for the court to award shared legal and physical custody to and the other parent. The court has many ways in which it can configure custody rights.