Legal Custody Law and Legal Definition

Legal custody of a child is the right and obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing and welfare. For example, decisions regarding schooling, medical care etc are made by a parent with legal custody. In many states, courts now award joint legal custody to the parents, which mean that the decision making is shared. Legal custody refers to the legal authority to make major decisions on behalf of the child. Examples of major decisions include: where the child will go to school, the type of education, the form of religious upbringing, and non-emergency medical decisions.