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Difference Between Joint Legal Custody and Joint Physical Custody

Is there a difference between joint legal custody and joint physical custody in New Jersey?

Heidi Ann Lepp’s Answer:

Joint legal custody and joint physical or residential custody are not the same thing in the State of New Jersey.

Legal custody is the concept where one or both parents have the authority to make decisions on major issues affecting their children’s well-being. In most instances, legal custody is jointly shared between the parents. This means that both parents have input into major decisions including, but not limited to, medical treatment, religious upbringing, and selection of college. Both parents also have equal access to the children’s medical and educational records. Day to day decisions are generally made by the parent who has custody of the children at the
time.

Residential custody is the parent with whom the child lives. This can be vested primarily in one parent, and the other parent would have scheduled parenting time. Residential custody can also be shared on a relatively equal basis which would result in a joint residential custody situation.

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