Custody has two components: legal and physical (or residential).
Legal custody is the legal authority of parents to make decisions for their child(ren). Legal custody can be awarded solely to one parent, or the two parents can have joint legal custody. Sole legal custody allows one parent to make all decisions for the child. Joint legal custody means the parents must consult each other regarding major decisions for the child. This includes but is not limited to: medical, educational, and religious decisions. Today, there are many creative ways parents can share legal custody and decision-making.
An attorney can guide you and help you decide what may work best for your family.
Physical, or residential, custody is awarded to the parent with whom the child will primarily reside. Divorced parents can share joint physical custody.
Visitation/parenting time for the non-custodial/non-residential parent can be in the form of a detailed schedule or it can be flexible. A detailed schedule would include specific days and times that parenting times will take place. It usually includes holidays, school breaks, summer vacation and the like.
It is always best for the parents, and for the children, when parents can agree upon a parenting schedule. Although custody and visitation are two separate issues, they are decided concurrently if it requires court intervention. In making these decisions, the court will award custody and parenting time based on the best interests of the child.