Q: What is the ACTUAL or practical difference between Physical Custody and Visitation (or Parent Time)?
For divorcing couples in Utah who have children, Joint Legal and Physical Custody can be requested when both parents will have the children for a minimum of 111 nights.
However, in the case of Joint Legal and Sole Physical Custody, the custodial parent has the children at least 225 nights -- leaving up to 140 nights when the non-custodial parent could have the children.
So, clearly there is an overlap here where, in the case of either Joint or Sole Physical Custody, the would-be non-custodial parent could have the children between 111-140 nights. The only difference is that in the Sole Physical Custody case, the other parent obviously has "visitation" or "parent time" but NOT physical custody. But what does that really mean??
My wife and I are getting divorced and she believes that it is in the best interest of the children, due to their ages (3 and 5), to be with her the majority of the time. So, she wants to have Joint Legal and Sole Physical Custody. However, I'm an excellent father, and have a great relationship with my kids, and I firmly believe that our kids need more access to their dad than that.
Admittedly, I'm also very nervous (and broken-hearted) about this idea of completely giving up physical custody and only having "visitation" with my children! But, maybe I'm overreacting? Maybe it's just the label of "custody" that I'm scared to lose, and there's not really a practical difference??
So I need to know, aside from the distribution of nights the kids spend with each parent, what is the ACTUAL or practical difference between Physical Custody, and Visitation? If she has sole physical custody, I want to know what practical rights I am giving up that I would still have if we had joint physical custody?
Bear in mind that we are still agreed on having Joint Legal Custody.