There are two forms of child custody that Tennessee parents must resolve when they choose to end their relationship and share their children in separate households. The first is physical custody. This form of custody is incredibly important, because it dictates where a child will live and how their noncustodial parent will have visitation time with them.
The second form of custody is legal custody. It is also very important because it allows parents to retain the right to make decisions about their kid's upbringing after their divorce or separation is finalized. To put it another way, if a parent loses legal custody of their child then that parent no longer has the right to decide where the child will go to school, if the child will go to church or who the child will see for medical treatments and care.
To say that one form of custody is more important than the other is not possible to do. Each form of custody is a significant connection between an adult and their child. While physical custody preserves the actual physical connection between a parent and a child, legal custody preserves the right of a parent to be involved in some of the most important decisions of their child's life.
Parents who are making child custody decisions should have a strong understanding of both of these forms of child custody. Both are important to keep parents connected to their kids during and after their divorce or separation. With the assistance of family law attorneys, many parents can successfully negotiate a legal and physical custody arrangement that will allow both parties to have a relationship with their kids that will last into the future.