Before your divorce, you may wonder how your relationship with your children will turn out. Whether you are the primary caretaker or you and your spouse split the duties may play a role in how much time you get with your kids after the marriage ends.

Maryland judges typically award equal legal custody to parents unless there is strong evidence against it. What about physical custody? When embarking on a custody proceeding, it helps to understand the difference between custody and visitation and how you may hold the key to how much time your child is with you.

Legal custody gives you rights 

Custody fights usually revolve around time-sharing. Custody is not physical, but legal. It sets out who makes legal decisions for the children, like where they live, go to school and the medical care they receive. Both parents usually get shared legal custody. This allows both to have equal involvement in decisions and access to records.

Visitation gives you time 

Time-sharing offers kids the opportunity to live with each parent for a set amount of time in furthering the relationship between them. It happens on a rotating basis. If both parents can care for the children and work schedules do not prevent them from picking them up and caring for them for half the time, then the court may award joint physical custody.

Parental involvement is essential 

The court rarely enjoys setting a visitation schedule. When it has to occur, it means the parents are not able to work out a feasible and amicable arrangement between them. It is in everyone’s best interest for spouses to set aside differences and arrive at a parenting plan and schedule that works for them and their children. Therefore, the schedule is up to the parents to work out first. It is only up to the court when the parents cannot make it happen.

When deciding on the time you spend with your children post-divorce, think realistically. Do not commit to more time than you can feasibly pull off, or your children may suffer.