Parents who are splitting up after a difficult marriage must have a clear idea of their rights under a custody arrangement. It is understandable if you want to prioritize spending time with your child. However, this does not mean you will have custody.
According to Mass.gov, to possess custody of your child means you have rights to raise your child that parenting time does not include.
A look at how custody works
Custody arrangements take different forms. You may have legal custody, meaning you have charge over the education and medical care decisions of your child. To have physical custody is to have the right to have your child live with you.
State law can give these rights to one parent or split them among both parents. Depending on your arrangement, you might end up with sole or shared custody, or you may not get any form of custody at all.
The definition of parenting time
Even if you do not possess custody rights, parenting time still permits you to visit your child or spend time with your loved one. Your child may not live with you, but you can still take your son or daughter on outings or spend time at the home where your child lives.
Parents create parenting time details in an agreement approved by the court. You would have to establish where you can visit your child and how long your visit could last. Sometimes an agreement requires that a second adult supervise the visit.
Given that child custody gives you greater latitude to raise your child than parenting time alone, it is crucial to properly understand the legal terms involved as you work out a custody arrangement.