Is there a difference between legal and physical custody in California and Nevada?

By Leslie J. Shaw
December 12, 2017
Is there a difference between legal and physical custody in California and Nevada?

There is a difference. Legally, custody is decision making, that's the power of parents to decide things such as health, education and welfare issues for their minor children, whereas physical custody is more of a residential schedule. Where is the child going to sleep on a certain day, where will the child's clothes be hanging?

The distinction is really more between decision making and scheduling. Now in California and Nevada, where I practice, there are some subtleties of distinction. For the purposes of our current discussion, we can accept that they're philosophically very, very close and essentially the same.

Leslie Shaw practices family law in both California and Nevada, and has been involved in close to 1,000 family law matters largely involving litigation throughout his 40 year career. He is also a Certified Family Law Attorney, a status granted by the California Board of Legal Specialization. To learn more about Leslie and his practice, please visit

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December 12, 2017
Categories:  FAQs

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