Jackie Kong, Esq.

Jackie Kong, Esq.

Hawaii Divorce and Family Law Attorney

Custody Explained: Navigating Physical vs. Legal Differences

January 8, 2024

When navigating the complexities of a divorce or separation, one of the most crucial aspects to understand is the custody of any children involved. In Hawaii, as in many places, there are two main types of custody to consider: physical and legal. Both of these will significantly impact your family’s daily life. This blog will delve into what each type of custody means, how they work in practice, and their implications for your family.


What is Physical Custody?

Definition: Physical custody refers to where the children live most of the time. The parent with physical custody is responsible for the day-to-day care of the children.

Sole vs. Joint Physical Custody:

Real-life Implications:

What is Legal Custody?

Definition: Legal custody refers to the right to make significant decisions about the child’s life, including education, health care, and religious upbringing.

Sole vs. Joint Legal Custody:

Real-life Implications:


How Do Courts Decide?

In Hawaii, as in many jurisdictions, the guiding principle for the court’s decision is the best interest of the child. Factors may include:

Preparing for Custody Discussions

  1. Understand Your Options: Know the differences between physical and legal custody and what each entails.
  2. Consider Your Child’s Needs: Think about your child’s routine, their educational and emotional needs, and how different custody arrangements might impact them.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: An experienced family law attorney can guide you through the process and help you understand how the law applies to your situation.
  4. Be Willing to Compromise: Remember that the court’s primary interest is the child’s well-being, not the parents’ preferences.

Understanding the differences between physical and legal custody is crucial for parents going through a separation or divorce. By comprehending what each type of custody entails and how it affects your family’s daily life, you can better prepare for the discussions and decisions ahead. Always keep your child’s best interests at heart, seek professional advice, and be open to compromise to ensure the best outcome for your family.

Navigating custody matters can be emotionally challenging, but with the right information and support, you can make informed decisions that benefit your child and help you move forward positively.

Contact Our Hawaii Family Law Attorney

Tell us about your case or call (808) 533-4444 to arrange a divorce or family law consultation.
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Call or Click for a Hawaii Divorce or Family Law Consultation, (808) 533-4444.

Jackie Kong, Esq.

Jackie Kong, Esq., a Hawaii Divorce and Family Law Attorney

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