Legal Custody
Print this article
Font Size
Legal Custody Basics
View ArticleView Article Comments
Legal custody is a form of custody that is intended to be permanent in nature. Legal custody is a legal status that vests certain rights and duties with the person or persons designated as the legal custodian(s). As custodian of a child, you have the right to have physical care and control of the child. Additionally, it is both your right and duty as legal custodian to provide for all of the child’s basic, medical, and educational needs, and to both protect and discipline the child. Let’s go over an example to clarify how this might work.

Legal Custody Example – Suzy & Children Services

Let’s assume that a county Children Services Board files a complaint with the local juvenile court requesting that a child by the name of Suzy be found dependent. The basis for the finding of dependency is based on the fact that Mom and Dad have abandoned Suzy, thus making the child homeless. As a result, Children Services asks that the court award legal custody of Suzy to her maternal grandmother. If the court grants such a disposition, Suzy’s grandmother will have the right to determine where and with whom the child lives. Suzy’s grandmother will also have the duty to ensure that she has adequate food, clothing, and shelter, and that she is attending school and receiving any and all necessary medical treatment. As you can see, the award of legal custody is not to be taken lightly! It brings with it great responsibility to the person who is designated legal custodian.

Next, let’s take a look at the residual rights, privileges, and obligations of non-custodial parents.

Related Legal Articles