Conversations about what will happen to children during a divorce or custody matter are some of the most emotional conversations I have with clients. It’s difficult to imagine your own life and relationships changing but when part of that is less time with children or a change in how the time with children is structured it can be papalizing for a parent. Knowing the language an attorney or family law professional will use can help remove some of the confusion and allow you to focus on what is most important to you. Here are some terms frequently used in family law matter regarding children.
Child Related Terminology
- Physical Custody: Physical custody refers to where the child primarily resides and the right to make decisions about the routine day-to-day activities of the child.
- Legal Custody: Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions in a child’s life, including decisions about education, health care, and religious training.
- Parenting Time. Parenting time refers to when a parent has time with a child. Similarly, a parenting time schedule sets out when each parent has the child.
- Parenting Plan: A parenting plan is a document created by parents during a divorce or custody proceeding that defines parenting time, also called parental access, designates the decision-making responsibilities of the parties, and provides for a method of dispute resolution. It may include other issues regarding the parents and the children and contain alternative physical and legal custody labels.