Child custody involves two issues. Legal Custody refers to who makes the important decisions in the child's life: where the child lives, where the child goes to school, whether or where the child worships a religion, or consent to the child's medical procedures. Physical Custody refers to where the child lives. Each type of custody is specifically ordered as either Joint Custody or Sole Custody. With joint physical custody, the child lives with one parent about half the time and with the other parent about half the time.
With sole physical custody awarded to one parent, the child lives with that parent all the time but the non-custodial parent may still be awarded parenting time throughout the year (e.g, every other weekend, alternating major holidays, three consecutive weeks in the summer) if it is in the child's best interests. With joint legal custody, both parents share in making decisions on important issues dealing with the child, and must work together. A parent having sole legal custody makes all of the important decisions dealing with the child. Even if one parent is awarded full physical custody, the order might specify joint legal custody depending in the case's circumstances.