How do sole legal and physical custody differ?

As a parent in Missouri who is going through the divorce process, you likely have many questions about custody matters. For example, what is the difference between sole and joint custody? Which is best for you? Today, we will look at sole custody, and the differences between legal and physical custody.

FindLaw first defines sole custody as a situation in which one parent holds the bulk of the responsibility for their child. Though some studies claim joint custody is best for the overall well-being of the child, your situation may not allow for it.

If you opt for sole custody, you must know the distinctions between physical custody and legal custody. With sole physical custody, this means that the child will primarily reside with you. Of course, the other parent may be able to visit in accordance with a visitation schedule. The child may also be able to go to their house to stay during weekends, holidays, and so on. In some cases, if it is not safe to do so, there may be no contact between the child and other parent at all.

Holding sole legal custody, on the other hand, allows you to make all of the decisions regarding important matters in your child’s life. This includes religious choices, medical choices, education, welfare, and the moral and emotional development of your child.

Typically speaking, a parent will hold sole custody both physically and legally. In some situations, you may only hold sole custody for one or the other. You may want to contact an attorney who can help you decide what works best for your family dynamic, and pursue that in court.


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