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Southeastern PA Divorce and Family Law Attorney Discusses Custody vs. Visitation

When a divorce or separation occurs, there is a point when the needs of children need to be discussed, particularly the establishment of child custody and visitation schedules. Many individuals use the two words interchangeably, though custody and visitation have far different meanings in divorce and family law. Attorney Jack A. Rounick of Southeastern PA is a family lawyer who can help in determining which is best for his client’s specific situation.

Legal custody gives a parent the right to participate in important decisions regarding the child’s life, specifically medical, educational, and religious aspects. The second determination is physical custody. This determines who becomes the custodial parent, the parent who houses the child and gives primary care. In most cases, one parent is awarded sole physical custody and the other parent is awarded reasonable parenting time, also known as visitation.

Visitation is the amount of time the other parent spends with the child or children. This is often laid out in a parenting plan designed either by the parents together and signed by the judge, or decided by the courts if there is a disagreement. Visitation is different from custody and is treated as such. Custody may come in two types – sole and joint. Sole means one person has full rights and joint means both parents have equal rights. It may be difficult to determine which is right. This is where a seasoned attorney comes in – someone who can assess the situation and recommend what may be most appropriate for a child’s best interests. If both parents cannot come together and agree on a solution through mediation, the courts must decide following a trial. Once orders have been put in place, either party can request that the court modify the terms at any point when there is a change in circumstances.

If you live in Southeastern PA and are interested in learning more about the differences between custody and visitation, as well as other terminology used during separation, divorce, and custody issues, contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Jack A. Rounick to make a consultation appointment.