The terms “child custody” and “visitation” are quickly becoming obsolete in the court system. The legal community is now moving toward using terms like “parenting time,” “parenting plans” and “parental responsibility.” If you are divorced or considering it, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the terms below:
Parenting time: This refers to the amount of time a parent spends with a child or children. The old term for this was “visitation.” The new phrase reflects the fact that anytime a child with a parent, that parent is parenting, not just visiting. Parenting time is typically used to refer to the time that the non-custodial parent spends with the child or children.
Parenting plans: This is the new phrase for “custody agreement.” Parenting plans include more than who has custody of the child or children. A parenting plan will often include elements such as: parenting time, legal decision-marking authority, financial support terms and rules around how the divorced couple communicates regarding the child or children.
Parental responsibility: This refers to the set of rights and privileges that children have with their parents. Typically, parental responsibilities include both parenting time and decision-making responsibilities.
For more information about divorce, visit Brown Paindiris & Scott’s Family Law FAQ.