Custody and Visitation
CUSTODY & VISITATION
At the time of a legal separation or a divorce, a dispositive question is what happens to the children. While states vary, there are typically four types of child custody which are legal, physical, sole, and joint custody.
• Legal custody grants a spouse the right to make pivotal decisions concerning the children such as the schools they attend, discipline, and medical care.
• Physical custody is where the spouses are granted the right and responsibility for the children to live with them for varying periods of time.
• Sole custody is where a specified parent was granted both the legal and physical right to custody of the child.
• Finally, joint custody is where both parents share equal legal custody and physical custody of their children. With legal or joint legal custody, both parents make significant decisions that are in the best interests of the children.
When the court or the parties by agreement determine that one of the parents has custody, the other has the right to have visitation with his or her children. The court takes into account numerous different factors when granting visitation rights including ages of the children, the children’s schedules, how far apart the parents live, and the work schedules of the parents.
There are typically two types of visitation options which are reasonable and structured visitations.
• A reasonable visitation option is where both parents agree on what are reasonable times for the children’s visitation on an ad hoc basis.
• A structured visitation option is a schedule-based visitation for children such as every weekend or particular days of the week and summer vacations. The parties may agree on visitation in an agreement and if they cannot agree, they can try mediation. If custody and mediation fails, they can go to court and let a judge decide those issues.