Child Visitation

When one parent has sole physical custody (the “custodial” or “residential” parent), the other parent usually has regularly scheduled time with the child as well (the “non-custodial” or “non-residential” parent). For many years, this time was known as “visitation,” but recently there’s been a shift to calling it “parenting time” instead. This reflects the fact that parents who don’t have custody of their children are still parenting them, even if they don’t live with them most of the time, rather than just “visiting” with the kids.

Parents may have joint legal custody even if they don’t have joint physical custody. That means the parent has the right to participate in decisions affecting the child, regardless of how much time the child spends with the non-custodial parent. This is often the case when parents live far apart so that the child sees the non-custodial parent less frequently, but the parent is still very much involved in the child’s life.

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