How do physical and legal custody differ?

Minnesota family law attorney DeAnne Dulas distinguishes physical from legal custody in the context of child custody.

Contact DeAnne Dulas

Email: [email protected]

Phone: (651) 968-1249


Physical custody is the parent who’s responsible for the daily care and control of a child. Legal custody is the parent’s rights and obligations towards making decisions for religious purposes, education purposes, medical purposes. Most of the time, parents share legal custody because it gives everyone access to information. Physical custody is the label that we assign when we’re deciding how to divide up parenting time, but parenting time doesn’t necessarily determine the physical custody label.