What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody is a term with a multitude of meanings, depending on the specific context in which it is used. In family law, legal custody generally refers to the legal authority and responsibility of a parent or guardian to make important decisions related to a child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and general welfare.

This includes making decisions about where the child will live, what school they will attend, and what medical treatment they will receive.

When legal custody is awarded in family court, it may be granted to one or both parents or to a legal guardian. In cases where it is awarded to both parents, it may be referred to as shared or joint custody. This means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities when it comes to making decisions about their child's well-being.

In the criminal justice system, legal custody may also refer to the custody of a person who has been arrested or detained by law enforcement. This type of custody typically involves the physical confinement of a person in a jail or detention facility, pending their appearance in court.

The concept of legal custody is important in criminal law because it helps to ensure that the rights of suspects and defendants are protected and that they are treated fairly and justly throughout the legal process.