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The different types of child custody and visitation

The days when mom automatically got custody and dad fell into the role of passive visitor are mostly a thing of the past. Most family law courts in Ohio now recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to child custody and visitation. The most important factor in determining custody is the well-being of the child, which can lead to a few different arrangements. 

Custody is often talked about as if there is only one type. However, there are several types you should familiarize yourself with. Legal custody is about parents' rights to make decisions regarding important matters in their children's lives, such as health care, religion and education. Legal custody is often shared, although in some cases one parent might maintain full legal custody. Additionally, a parent does not have to have physical custody to also have legal custody. 

Physical custody addresses which parent is literally physically responsible for a child. Although it is often used to refer to parents who have sole custody, it also includes visitation, shared custody arrangements, holidays and more. You can also have physical custody of a child without having legal custody. 

Shared parenting is a type of arrangement in which you and your ex share both physical and legal custody. In most -- although not all -- cases, children will spend roughly equal amounts of time with each parent. However, it is also possible to share physical custody while only you or your ex retains full legal custody. 

Physical, legal and shared custody arrangements can be applied in a way that not only makes sense for your family, but that also respects your child's best interests. However, figuring out these types of complicated child custody and visitation matters is not always easy, especially if you are in the middle of a divorce. Many Ohio families choose to work with experienced attorneys who can help uphold their children's rights and their family's interests throughout the process. 

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