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What is the difference between orders of custody and visitation?

When parents have to choose how they will divide time with their children after divorce, it can be difficult to decide what truly is best for their specific circumstances. Custody and visitation orders that are granted to parents in New York can be customized to meet a family's specific needs. First, however, parents will have to figure out if they should share custody or if one parent will only be granted visitation time.

How are custody and visitation orders different? A custodial parent is given legal responsibility for his or her child. This individual may be granted legal custody, giving him or her the right to make all important decisions regarding the child's welfare and/or physical custody that dictates with whom the child will live. Custody can be shared equally, or full custody may be granted to one parent.

Visitation time is often granted to a parent who has not been granted custody. There are select cases in which a parent may not be granted parenting time, but, generally, non-custodial parents can achieve a visitation schedule that still allows him or her to remain an active participant in his or her child's life. A strict schedule can be negotiated between parents; however, those who cannot come to agreeable terms may have parenting time schedules set in court.

Custody and visitation orders both allow parents to keep the bonds with their children strong. In some situations, visitation is all that is allowed. In others, though, parents can choose the path that is best for them and their children. Those residing in New York can seek legal assistance to help reach child custody and/or parenting time arrangements with which all parties can feel satisfied.

Source: womenslaw.org, "New York Custody: What is custody? What is visitation?", Accessed on Aug. 13, 2015

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