In custody cases in Massachusetts – what is the difference between physical custody and legal custody and visitation or parenting plan. Physical custody means who your child or children will be living with. Legal custody means who will be making the important decisions about your child’s life which can include educational, medical or religious. Not the day to day, but major decisions. A visitation or parenting plan is how to best arrange for the children to see the parent that they are not living with. In Massachusetts, there can be shared physical and/or shared legal custody or one parent can have sole physical or legal custody. Other times there may be sole physical custody and joint legal custody. There is a presumption of joint legal custody if the parents are married, which is not the case with physical custody.