It is important for divorcing parents to understand certain legal terms when they are determining matters that involve their children. When it comes to custodial arrangements, some parents might not realize the meaning of physical custody. This generally refers to where a child will live, and the parent awarded physical custody must provide daily care for the child. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the ability to make major decisions regarding a child.
Most custodial arrangements give primary physical custody to a single parent to avoid disrupting the children's routines. The other parent, or non-custodial parent, is then awarded visitation rights. This usually gives non-custodial parents private time with their children for certain weekends, holidays and vacation times. The non-custodial parents may also be awarded shared legal custody.