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What does it mean if I have legal custody of my child?


Like other areas of family law, child custody law is highly nuanced and may cover a variety of important topics. Texas residents who are currently experiencing problems with their child custody orders or agreements or who have questions about such topics are encouraged to speak with family law attorneys to receive case-specific guidance. This post will only provide information on one small area of the much bigger topic of child custody.

There are two main forms of custody that a parent may have over his child: legal and physical. Physical custody generally refers to where a child will live after his parents divorce or separate. In a physical custody arrangement parents may share custody of a child or one parent may have sole physical custody of the child while the other has some form of visitation with him.

Legal custody, however, does not directly concern a child's physical place of residence. Rather, it refers to the right of a parent to make important decisions about how the child is raised. A parent who has legal custody of his child has the right to assert his preferences over where the child is educated and what religious influences, if any, touch his life. A parent with legal custody may also have a say in how a child is treated for medical injuries and illnesses as well as other important decisions about his upbringing.

A parent without legal custody of his child may not have any options to speak up if he does not believe that the custodial parent's actions are serving the best interests of the child. Though he may seek to intervene through a review of his custodial rights by a family court, his actions may not be sufficient to influence a custodial parent to consider his preferences in how their child is raised.

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Jamie Graham & Associates, PLLC
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San Antonio, TX 78205

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