What is the difference between legal and physical custody?

Legal and physical custody are the different legal rights that a parent has over a child. However, one should not get too attached to the meaning of being granted legal or physical custody because in the end both parents have a right to be involved in the child’s life assuming a parent is not dangerous to the child’s welfare. 

Physical custody traditionally means the home base of the child. Joint physical custody means that the child spends about 50% of his or her time at each parent’s home. If physical custody is granted to one parent, usually the other parent is given liberal visitation. 

Legal Custody means that the right to decision making regarding the child. If the parents cannot get along usually only one parent is granted legal custody of the child. However the other parent who was not granted custody is entitled to be fully informed about what is happening in the child’s life. 

What does this mean for child support? Not much because child support is calculated based on both parents’ incomes. The parent with physical custody still must contribute to the child support. The parent living outside the home of the child happens to pay it because they are not there to buy the child’s groceries like the custodial parent is. The bottom line is that parents should not be too concerned about labels with regard to physical custody. 

If you are seeking clarity and or guidance with the concepts of physical and legal custody and would like to retain counsel in your child support or custody matter, contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law. 

Genetic Donor Pitfalls: Why You Don’t Donate Sperm by McDonalds Cup And More…

Generally the requirement to pay child support is not based on whether you married the mother but on your genetic link to the child. Improper donation of genetic material can cause you a lifetime burden and a huge never ending headache because you may be responsible for the child that it becomes apart of. You can be ordered to come into court to undergo genetic testing to determine paternity even if its not on paper that you were the donor. How can you avoid the pitfalls? 

Never donate your genetic material without ensuring that you are given proper waivers of responsibility towards the child that may result from that donation. Where a sperm donor gave his sperm to a Lesbian couple in a paper cup at a McDonalds, the Court ruled that the donor was required to pay child support. In that case, when the lesbian couple broke up the mother retaining custody sued for child support against the sperm donor and won. 

Never enter a surrogacy contract in New York State. Surrogacy contracts are illegal and unenforceable in the State of New York. Even if you do not care about having to take care of the child for the rest of your life, you don’t want to have to fight a custody battle with the genetic mother who decides that they do want to be in the child’s life after all. 

Never agree to create an embryo — otherwise known as a fertilized egg —- with your partner but fail to enter an agreement which outlines what may happen to the embryo in the event that you break up. If you sign a waiver which relinquishes your right to the fertilized egg, your partner may implant that material in themselves years later and then come after you for child support.

If you are considering entering an arrangement in which you exchange your genetic material with another person, other than the natural way, please contact Diana Mohyi Attorney at Law so that she can provide reliable counsel to you.