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Legal Information: Puerto Rico


November 25, 2023

What is custody and legal custody (patria potestad)?

Physical custody means the physical care and supervision of your children. In other words, this generally refers to which parent lives with the child on a daily basis. Custody can be shared, which means that there can be an arrangement where the children spend part of the time with one parent and part with the other. The custody arrangement can range from the child living with one parent and the other parent only having visitation to the time being divided between the parents on a weekly or monthly basis.1

Legal custody (patria potestad) means the rights and responsibilities parents usually have over their children. These include the right to make important decisions for your children, such as the school they attend, what medical treatment they receive, and their religious upbringing. It also deals with the parental responsibilities associated with providing food, shelter, and discipline, and making financial decisions for their benefit.1

1 See the Puerto Rico Judicial Branch website