What is the difference between custody and parenting time?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2023 | Custody |

When parents in Southern California have children together, whether they like it or not, they will be linked to each other while they raise the children. People may break up or go through a divorce and never want to see their ex-partner again. However, the breakup or divorce does not mean that they stop being parents to their children. They will need to continue to care for their children and make decisions for them.

How they do those things will certainly change though and generally there will be a custody and parenting time order in place governing them. People may have a general idea of what custody and parenting time are, but the two terms are often used interchangeably. However, it is important to know the differences when people are figuring out the custody and parenting time arrangements during a divorce.

Differences between custody and parenting time

Custody refers to the decision making for the children. There are two different types of custody. There is legal custody, which governs the legal decisions for the children such as medical decisions and school decisions. The other type of custody is physical custody, which has to do with the day-to-day decisions and who the children live with most of the time. For custody, parents either share joint custody or one parent has sole custody.

Parenting time is the schedule for when the children will be with each parent. This can be much more creative than custody and does not need to be all or nothing. Parents can have a set schedule for which days of the week the children will be in each parent’s care. Schedules can also include which holidays the parents will have the children. Parents do not need a schedule if it is better that way as well.

Custody and parenting time decisions in California are very important decisions. There are also decisions that need to be made in the best interests of the children and not simply what is best for the parents involved. Understanding how these decisions are made is important to help ensure the best possible outcome for the children.