Custody and Parenting Time

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Jeremy: When your parents live together, they are both responsible for taking care of you. When your parents stop living together, this might change.

One parent might have sole custody of you. This means you live with one parent, who takes care of you everyday. Or both parents might have custody. This is called joint custody. You might live part of the time with one parent, and part of the time with the other, or live mostly with one parent—but both parents help make decisions about things in your life.

If one parent has custody, the other parent usually has parenting time sometimes called visitation. This means that you visit the other parent. There are lots of different ways to arrange how you spend time with that parent.

Your parents might be able to agree on custody and parenting time themselves.

But if they can’t agree, even with the help of a mediator, a judge will have to make the decisions. The judge will think about things like:

  • What will give you the fewest changes to deal with?
  • Are both of your parents healthy and responsible?
  • What are your parents’ plans for themselves and for you?
  • How close do you feel to each of your parents?
  • Do family and friends live near your parents?