Physical Custody vs. Visitation Rights

By John Anthony Ward on January 15, 2019


Parent and childMost people who have gone through a divorce would say that nothing about the process is easy. But when children are involved, divorce proceedings can be especially difficult.

Experienced child custody attorney John Anthony Ward, LLC works with clients to find a child custody arrangement that is most beneficial to all those involved in a divorce, especially the child.

There are different types of child custody, and several custody arrangements can be made in a divorce proceeding. John Anthony Ward helps parents understand the differences between physical custody and visitation rights. Contact our Kenosha, WI practice for help with your case.

What Is Physical Custody?

The child will live with and spend the majority of time with the parent that is awarded physical custody. Physical custody can be shared between parents, but in many cases, physical custody is awarded to one parent.

It may be in the best interest of the child to have one primary place of residence. This can provide the child with stability and security in the aftermath of a divorce.

Visitation Rights

When working on a custody arrangement, some parents have difficulty agreeing on a sole physical custody arrangement. However, it is important to understand that a non-custodial parent can still spend a significant amount of time with the child. Unless one parent is unfit, the court will likely recommend that the non-custodial parent has visitation rights.

In some cases, the court simply agrees that the non-custodial parent has a right to reasonable visitation. In these cases, the parents can agree on a visitation arrangement that works best for them.

For instance, they may agree that the non-custodial parent spends one or two evenings a week with the child, along with some time on the weekends and during holidays. As long as parents remain amicable and work together, visitation schedules can be flexible.

If the parents are unable to agree on a reasonable visitation schedule of their own, a fixed visitation will be ordered as part of the divorce proceedings.

A fixed visitation schedule determines how much the non-custodial parent will see the child. Fixed visitation schedules can be beneficial because they provide the child with consistency and minimize areas of conflict between the parents.

Do Non-custodial Parents Have Other Rights?

Even if physical custody is solely awarded to one parent, the non-custodial parent can retain legal custody. It is common for legal custody to be shared between parents, even when the child resides with just one parent.

Shared legal custody ensures that a non-custodial parent is still able to be involved in important decisions, such as where the child will go to school, what type of medical care the child will receive, and what type of religious upbringing the child will have.

Learn More

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about child custody issues, attorney John Anthony Ward can help. Contact us at your earliest convenience to learn more about physical custody, legal custody, and visitation rights. You can reach our practice by calling (262) 654-8868.

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