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Understanding a parent's role as a child's physical custodian

When a married couple has a child there is no question that the partners are responsible for raising and caring for their offspring. The child's parents must provide them with food and shelter, love and comfort. When their parents are married the child may have the benefit of living with two adults and having the support of both their mother and father in the same home.

However, as readers of this Missouri family legal blog know, not all marriages last and not all couples choose to stay together. When divorce affects a family, the care and welfare of a child may be of the greatest importance to their parents. Finding a way to provide that care, though, can be a challenge when parents no longer want to associate with each other.

Physical custody relates to how and where a child is raised after their parents split up due to separation of divorce. Physical custody may be shared or awarded solely to one parent. When a parent is responsible for the physical custody of their child, they are called the custodial parent and they must ensure that the child has what they need on a day to day basis.

A parent who has physical custody of their child must keep a roof over the child's head, food on the table, and clothing on their back. When one parent exclusively provides these services, they may wish to seek child support from the other parent to help offset the costs of raising their shared child. Child custody and support are important responsibilities that survive divorce, so readers should talk to their family law attorneys about how these and other issues may resolve in their own divorces.

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