If your Kentucky divorce involves minor child, the judge overseeing your case must make a custody determination (that is, assuming you and your soon-to-be former spouse cannot come up with an arrangement on your own). More often than not, family law judges award both parents in a custody case legal or physical custody or both. However, some situations merely call for “visitation.” What is visitation, and is it the same as custody?
To better understand what visitation means, you must first know what legal and physical custody mean. According to VeryWellFamily, if the judge awards you legal custody of your child, it means he or she grants you the legal authority to make major decisions on your child’s behalf. Such decisions include those involving schooling, medical care, religion and after school activities. Physical custody refers to where the child will live a majority of the time.
More often than not, if a judge grants a parent legal custody, he or she will also grant that same parent half or the majority of physical custody. Barring extenuating circumstances, courts will likely award parents “joint physical custody,” which means the child will live with both parents a part of the week.
Visitation, on the other hand, occurs when the judge grants one parent sole physical custody. In this situation, the child would live with one parent full time while the other parent has the right to scheduled visits. There are three types of visitation the courts may order: Unsupervised, supervised and virtual.
If the judge decides you can enjoy unsupervised visitation with your child, you would have the right to take your child to your home or on an outing for the day, without supervision. If the court orders supervised visitation, however, you may only visit with your child so long as another responsible adult is present. In some cases, the courts may allow the custodial parent to elect the responsible adult; in others, the courts will appoint a supervisor.
A judge may order virtual visitation if you and the custodial parent decide to live far apart, or when physical visits are impossible or infrequent. Virtual visitations are not ideal, but they do ensure some form of continuity for the child.