Legal custody and physical placement are two separate concepts that are often confused. Legal custody is the power to make decisions that will affect the child's present and future, such as school choice or health care and is the right and responsibility to make major decisions concerning the child that are consistent with any agreement made by the parties or a court order or judgment during a divorce or legal separation.
The types of major decisions that can be made by a legal custodial parent include, but are not limited to, decisions regarding:
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Physical placement, on the other hand, refers to the time a child spends with each parent When a parent has physical placement of the child, that parent has the right and responsibility to make, during that placement, any routine daily decisions regarding the child’s care, consistent with major decisions made by a person or persons having legal custody.
Decisions regarding legal custody and physical placement can be very complicated and contentious because of the emotions involved. When parents cannot agree on legal custody and physical placement, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem, whose job it is to represent the best interests of the children.
Our Madison divorce attorneys at Balisle Family Law Legal Counsel S.C. have extensive experience helping parents work through legal custody and physical placement issues, including modification of legal custody and physical placement arrangements. Usually these matters can be resolved by agreement, but we are prepared to litigate them if necessary. You can trust that we will determine the most efficient means for a fair resolution.
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