The word custody is in reference to the physical and legal custody of a child(ren). Physical custody comprises of where the child resides and who takes care of them.
Joint physical custody (also known as shared physical and/or residential custody, shared parenting time, etc.) simply means the child spends significant time living with both their parents, and both have the same responsibility to physically take care of the child.
Joint physical custody doesn’t mean that parents have the same time with the child. Instead, both parents have considerable and regular time.
The other option to shared physical custody would be sole physical custody.
The Times Joint Physical Custody Works
Joint and/or shared physical custody functions well when:
- Parents are in agreement that it’s in their child’s best interest.
- Parents cooperate somewhat well and can jointly make decisions.
- Parents reside somewhat close to each other and a shared arrangement is logistically possible.
- Each of the parents wish to be involved in the upbringing of their children.
- There isn’t a history of child and/or domestic abuse, or kidnapping.
- Shared physical custody may work with just any parenting time plan. If your child needs to live mainly with one parent, one parent can provide more time to the other with mid-week visits, longer weekends, extended holiday breaks, and school break visitations. The other parent may also have contact with the child via phone calls, emails, texts, going to the child’s goings-on and activities, etc.
Children typically do better when each of the parents are considerably involved in their livelihoods. When you and the other parent can make shared physical custody function well, it will be beneficial to your child.
General Shared Physical Custody Plans
When you have shared physical custody, you should make a parenting time plan that details when your child will spend time with each parent.
Some general shared parenting time plans are:
- Alternating week plan in whereas the child lives with one parent for a week and the other parent the week after
- Two weeks plan in whereas the child lives with one parent for two weeks and the other parent the two weeks after
- Two-two-three plan whereas the child lives with one of the parents for 2 days, the other parent for 2 days and the parents interchange a 3-day weekend
- Two-two-five-five plan whereas the child lives with one of the parents for 2 days, the other parent for 2 days, then the 1st parent for 5 days and the other parent for 5 days
- Three-four-four-three plan whereas the child lives with one of the parents for 3 days, the other parent for 4 days, then the 1st parent for 4 days and the other parent for 3 days
- Each weekend plan whereas the child lives with one of the parents throughout the week and the other parent for a prolonged weekend
- Four-three plan whereas the child lives with one of the parents for 4 days and the other parent for 3 days
You can always include mid-week or overnight visits throughout the week to make the plan best fitting for your situation.
You might want to utilize a visitation time-share calculator when you’re creating a plan to guarantee that each of the parents have substantial time with the children.
State Precedence For Shared Physical Custody
A lot of states have laws that give precedence for shared physical custody. Courts in those states will put in order shared physical custody as a default unless a parent can demonstrate that it would not be in the best interest of the child.
Look into your state’s custody mandate to find out what your court likes. A lot of states require that each of the parents spend a minimum amount of time with the child for the arrangement to be considered shared physical custody. Other states plainly require each of the parents to have considerable and regular contact with the child.
When Joint Physical Custody Works. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2020, from https://www.custodyxchange.com/topics/custody/types/joint-physical-custody.php
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