Legal Information: Maryland


October 18, 2022

Is there any difference between custody and visitation?

Yes. Custody gives one parent or both parents the right to provide care and supervision for the child, and the right to make long-term decisions for the child.  See What is custody? for more information.

Visitation usually involves timed visits with the child that are either supervised or unsupervised. Supervised visitation is when the parent is only allowed to visit with the child in the company of another person.  Supervised visitation often calls for a restriction of visitation to a particular location and time.  Visitation does not give decision-making responsibility or long-term care of the child.  A parent that does not have custody often has some form of visitation.1  Guidelines for visitation are often included in the official custody order issued by the judge.

1The People’s Law Library of Maryland website; MD Law Encyclopedia, Parent and Child § 17

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