Mother and father holding child during a child custody meeting in New Mexico.Going through a divorce isn't easy on any member of the family, and New Mexico courts recognize the challenges children face. Families must determine a situation that best suits their unique needs and protects the kids.

To help keep matters clear between everyone, there are two types of child custody—physical and legal. Each carries individual responsibilities and provides different rights to parents.

What Is Legal Custody?

Legal custody refers to the right to make decisions about the child’s life, including education and medical management. The state of New Mexico expects parents would share legal custody and work together to manage these responsibilities equally.

However, at times, depending on the situation, the court may award one parent sole legal custody, which grants all decision power only to that parent.

What Is Physical Custody?

Physical custody refers to the amount of time children spend with each parent. It states who is physically responsible for the children and for how long. These “periods of responsibility” vary on a case-by-case basis.

Many factors contribute to the decision about physical custody, including the parents’ mental and physical health, employment demands, previous relationship with the children, the age of the children, and other considerations.

It’s important to note that legal custody and physical custody are entirely separate. It's possible for one parent to have complete legal custody, but for both parents to share physical custody equally.

Get Help for Your Child Custody Case

The decisions of the court regarding both types of child custody can shape the relationship with your children for a lifetime. If you’re facing a custody matter, don’t leave anything to chance.

An experienced family attorney can help you understand your parental rights and prepare you to state a compelling case to protect them. At Genus Law Group, we offer a case strategy session to help you learn more about your situation and find out how we can help. Call our Albuquerque office today at 505.317.4455, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page.