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What is the difference between custody and parenting time?

On Behalf of | Feb 27, 2023 | Child Custody, Divorce |

When parents go through a divorce in California there will be many changes to their lives. Some of the most important changes is how the divorce will affect their children.

During marriage, parents usually assume different roles and establish a pattern for how they parent their children. This will change after a divorce, especially since they will no longer be living in the same home.

For parents, two of the major decisions during divorce involve child custody and parenting time. People may not completely think these two terms refer to the same thing, but there is a difference between the two.

Child custody basics

Under California law, there are two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody governs legal decisions for the children such as those about medical care, education, religious upbringing and other important points.

Physical custody governs which parent makes the day-to-day decisions for the children.

One parent can have sole legal custody and/or sole physical custody or the parents can share joint custody.

Parenting time basics

Parenting time refers to when each parent will have the children in their care. Parents usually have parenting time with their children pursuant to a set schedule, which can include holidays and other special occasions.

Parenting time can also be supervised or, in rare situations, parents may not have any parenting time at all.


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