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How child custody and visitation differ from one another

Some Florida parents may have visitation rights to their children after a divorce, but this is not the same as custody and may not give them the right to have their children live with them. Visitation refers to a person's right to time with his or her children. A common visitation arrangement might involve a child spending every other weekend and one weeknight with the noncustodial parent.

While many people may think of custody as referring to which parent a child lives with, it is actually just the definition of physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about a child's religion, health care, school and other important issues. It is not uncommon for one parent to have physical custody while both of the ex-spouses share legal custody.

Parents may also share physical custody instead of one person just having visitation rights. Shared physical custody usually means each person spends a substantial amount of time with his or her children even if it is not exactly 50/50.

Navigating child custody can be a challenging aspect of divorce. Parents may feel overwhelmed with emotion, but it is important that they put the best interests of their children first even if one person does not approve of his or her ex's parenting style. People can also create a parenting agreement that addresses concerns they may have about issues ranging from helping with homework and extracurricular activities to the kids meeting their new partners and more. It is best if parents are able to work out conflicts between themselves rather than returning to family law court each time they have a disagreement. However, if the child's safety is in question, going back to court may be necessary.

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