What is physical custody? – Physical custody generally refers to the parent a child lives with after parents separate or divorce. There are two types of custody, physical and legal. Physical custody is where the child lives and who they stay with, while legal custody is about the decision making concerning the child’s well being. Usually, both parents have joint legal custody, with one parent having sole physical custody and the other having visitation. This means that one parent will have the child/children physically staying with them most of the time, with the child/children staying with the other parent during set visitation periods. – It is usually the party that the child lives with the majority of the time, with the other parent having visitation.
What is legal custody? – Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities for major decisions concerning the child’s education, health care, physical living arrangements, and religious training. Joint physical custody means that both parties will split physical time with the child/children. Just plain joint physical custody is possible, but is usually reserved for situations where the child/children’s time is split evenly or close to equally between both parents. For example, the child/children will stay with one parent half the week and the other the other half of the week. This requires strong communication by both parents and heavy involvement by both parties too. The usual scenario is for one parent to have sole physical custody and the other having visitation on weekends, holidays, birthdays, etc.
What are Visitation Rights? – It is when joint or sole physical custody is awarded in a divorce/separation and it is the right of the parents to visit with the child/children. This is usually set out in a visitation schedule that a judge can decide or both parents can agree to in advance. Both parents can negotiate the terms of that visitation. Visitation will be arranged so that the best needs of the child are met.