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Are Child Custody and Visitation the Same?


As a divorce attorney and mediator, I receive calls from couples of young children asking various questions about custody and visitation all the time.

Often, these parents have little idea that “custody” to which they’re referring is actually the right to make decisions. In fact, many divorcing parents confuse visitation with custody and as such, it puts the fabric of their relationships in a precarious situation.

To that end, I want to dispel a few myths that surround child custody and visitation.


Is not defined as the primary residence of the children. Custody is the right to make decisions, including: What school the children will attend, the children’s primary care physician, the religion of the children, and attendance at sleep away summer camp. Custody can be retained by one or both parents.


Signifies the time children spend with each of their parents—especially when it is with the parent with whom the children spend less time.

There are many varieties of visitation arrangements. One parent can have the children living with him full time while the other parent gets the children for two weeknight dinners and weekends. There is an endless variety of visitation patterns.

Factors in visitation can include: hours and location of parental employment, location of children’s school in relation to one of the parents’ residence, and the reliability and maturity of the parent.

In determining child custody and visitation rights, the decision is supposed to be in the best interest of the child. A knock-down, drag-out fight should be avoided.

Solely using the courts to make these decisions is expensive financially and emotionally. Lawyers can cost tens of thousands of dollars or more and can often be adversarial, prolonging the time during which a custody or visitation decision will be made.

Judges can make decisions about your future by relying on the advice of doctors who assess a families’ dynamics and mental health. But how well can these doctors get a true understanding of a family after only a few hours of evaluation?

Mediators are often much better equipped to help divorced parents make custody and visitation decisions.

As a psychologically-trained divorce attorney and mediator, I use psychology and legal skills to help parents come to agreements that are in the best interests of everyone—without spending tens of thousands of dollars. As a mediator, I can also help divorcing parents make decisions without all of the hurtful emotion behind it.

I very often encourage my clients to consider mediation to work out their custody and visitation issues. It’s a better vehicle for all involved. There is no reason to add any more pain to the division of a family.

Need help with custody and visitation? Call me. Mediation may just be the answer to your problems.

Working with me your parenting process will be positive, productive & more peaceful!

I am offering Free 1 hour consultations. Why not join me to learn more…

All our FREE I HOUR CONSULTATIONS are still available virtually to reduce risk.

I look forward to answering all your custody and visitation questions and sharing all the impressive benefits of mediation with you!

My unique mediation process can save you money, time and unnecessary pain!

Stay healthy & safe!

Warm regards,


Call New York Divorce Lawyer Lois Brenner now to ask all your custody and visitation questions now!