Now that your divorce is final or nearly final, you may have realized that you haven’t come up with a child custody plan. Understandably, there are a lot of other things on your mind, but you’ll need to come up with a schedule to ensure your children are cared for. If you live in the Maryland/DC area, here are some key points to remember about custody and visitation that can help you come up with an arrangement that works for your family.
What is legal custody?
When a parent has legal child custody, this parent has the right to make major decisions about the child’s life. These decisions include where the child will attend school, which extracurricular activities they will be involved in, what religion they will practice, and how they will receive medical care.
Sole legal custody indicates that only one parent is authorized to make these choices on the child’s behalf. Joint legal custody means that both parents are legally permitted to make major decisions for their children.
Physical custody and visitation rights
Physical child custody refers to where the child will live. When one parent has sole physical custody, the child lives with this parent full-time. However, the other parent will be granted visitation rights in most cases. When parents have joint physical custody, the child will spend part of their time in one parent’s home and part of their time in the other parent’s home.
When it comes to visitation, parents may be granted supervised, unsupervised, or virtual visitation. Most parents receive unsupervised visitation and are able to keep the children for a weekend or a few days at a time. For supervised visitation, another adult must be present, such as a responsible family member or social worker.