‘Child custody’ and ‘visitation’ are common terms in separation and divorce cases. Most people use these terms interchangeably, but in reality, they have different legal meanings. In this blog, family lawyers from Hunt Law explain the key differences between child custody and visitation to help you understand how these two terms are used in the family court setting in Trumbull County, OH.

What is Child Custody?

Child custody is a term used to describe the legal rights and responsibilities between parents for childcare. In Ohio, either parent can be awarded sole legal custody of a child, or both parents can share legal custody. However, parenting time – or visitation – is another issue that may also be determined by the court.

Types of child custody orders include the following:

  1. Legal Child Custody

If you are awarded legal custody for your child, it means you have the ability to make decisions for your child about their education, healthcare, religious matters, and their overall wellbeing. The courts consider the best interest of a child when awarding child custody.

Based on circumstances, the court can grant joint legal custody, where both parents share equal rights and responsibilities, or sole legal custody, where one parent is entitled to making all decisions regarding the welfare of a child.

  1. Physical Custody

Physical custody is distinct from legal custody. In joint custody, a child can live with both parents according to an established parenting time arrangement. But this does not mean that a child must spend the exact same time with each parent. Again, the best interests of the child will determine who is awarded physical custody over children.

What Is Visitation?

In its simplest definition, visitation is the parenting time granted to the noncustodial parent to share time with their child. It defines the specific times, dates, locations, and procedures of when and how the parent sees and spends time with the child. For example, if the visitation plan requires you to see your child every week or twice a month, then you and the other parent must adhere to that arrangement.

Depending on circumstances, situations, and the best interest of the child, a visitation order can be:

  • Visitation according to a schedule
  • Supervised visitation
  • Reasonable visitation
  • No visitation

The Ohio child custody law demands that judges award custody and visitation rights in a child’s best interest. Hence, the court will consider the child’s age, health, the ability of the parents, emotional ties between the child and the parents before deciding.

Contact a Trumbull County Child Custody Attorney

If you are not content with your custody arrangement and visitation plan, you can change them through a child custody attorney.

Need help? Call 330.469.9836 to speak to Adam Hunt, a Trumbull County child custody attorney from Hunt Law. You can also visit us at 8345 East Market Street Warren, Ohio 44484 for further information about our services.