What is Physical Custody and Why is it Important?

It is doubtful that any two words mean as many different things to as many different people as the words ‘joint custody.’
— In re Marriage of Birnbaum

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    Series: What is the Difference Between Legal Custody, Physical Custody, and Parenting Time?

Series: What is the Difference Between Legal Custody, Physical Custody, and Parenting Time?

What is Physical Custody and Why is it Important?

Most of our clients walk in the door assuming that physical custody is the same thing as parenting time.  But they are not the same thing, although they are related.  Parenting time is what percentage of time each parent spends with the children.  Physical custody refers to where the child will live. 

The Differences Between Sole Physical Custody and Joint Physical Custody

If you have sole physical custody of your child, the child generally lives with you and is under your supervision, but the other parent might have visitation time. 

If you have joint physical custody of your child, the child generally spends significant periods with both parents and may reside in both houses.  The parenting time, however, may not be equal.  Getting an order for “joint physical custody” does not guarantee a fifty-fifty visitation schedule.

There are no limits or hourly calculations to determine how much parenting time is sole physical custody and how much parenting time is joint physical custody.  Some families will have the same visitation schedule as each other, but in one family, one parent has sole physical custody and in the other family, both parents share joint physical custody.  These differences are often the result of different facts in the case as well as the parents’ ability to agree on custody matters.

Conclusion

Physical custody is a very important aspect of custody if one parent would like to move with the children.  At Krueger Family Law, we understand that no two families are the same.  We take a flexible approach to reach good solutions for our clients and their families. 

If you have questions, you can contact Krueger Family Law to schedule a consultation.