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

By Cynthia Ann Brassington
December 15, 2017
Is there a difference between physical and legal child custody in New Jersey?

There is. With joint legal custody we would have a parent of primary residence who will be responsible for the day-to-day decisions concerning the children. With that joint legal custody then, that parent would have to confer with the other parent, regarding major decisions and that may be the child needs some medical care, not a flu shot but maybe something more specific. Braces would be a major decision, for example.

But with joint legal custody, it's implied that the parties will confer on everything. They will confer on the doctors and the dentists and the nursery schools because they're sharing physical custody. That means they're really sharing decision-making.

Sometimes parents enter into what I call a fusion which they may agree to joint physical custody but then they will specifically state what duties the parent of primary residence would have so that way they know exactly what the expectations are from each parent, and it does help them get along better when they know exactly what to expect from the other party.

New Jersey attorney Cynthia Ann Brassington is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and regularly helps people to resolve their divorce-related issues, from property division, to child support, and custody. To learn more about Cynthia and her practice visit

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December 15, 2017
Categories:  FAQs

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