What is the legal difference between a custodial parent and the residental parent?

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What is the legal difference between a custodial parent and the residental parent?
07/09/2007   |   Category: Divorce ยป Child Custody   |   State: New York   |   #7020


While there is no statutory distinction between physical and legal custody, understanding these concepts is the first step in understanding a custody proceeding. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. Physical custody is sometimes known as residential custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the legal authority to make decisions involving the child. The three most significant issues involving legal custody are religious, educational and medical decisions. An order of custody is always subject to an order of visitation for the non custodial parent. In some states, the terms custody and visitation are not used, instead the term of art is "parenting time". New York is slowly moving in that direction, however, no matter what term is used the underlying concepts remain the same.

Joint custody means joint legal custody, and not how much time the child spends with each parent. Joint custody gives both parents equal decision making authority. Joint custody will allow both parents an equal role in rearing their children, provided both parents can work together to make joint decisions. However, equal authority also means that each parent has an absolute veto over the decisions of the other parent, meaning that complete deadlock on decisions involving the child will result if a mutual agreement cannot be reached. For this reason, courts in New York have held that joint custody is appropriate on consent of both parties, but is not appropriate after a hearing.

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