Child custody is actually comprised of two different components: there’s legal custody and there’s physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make the decisions regarding the health, education, and welfare of your children. The physical custody, that’s the parenting plan. Visitation is really a subsection of the parenting plan.
Many years ago, we used to say primary custody. A lot of courts have moved away from that because they don’t want one parent feeling as secondary. It’s often called a parenting plan or just joint physical custody, and the children shall be with the mother during this time and the father during this time. In terms of developing the parenting plan, it’s very specific to the family and what works in that family to meet the best interests of the children.
Partner at McGaughey & Spirito, California family lawyer Erin McGaughey handles complex divorce cases that involve child custody issues, financial issues, and business interests.