What is physical custody?

Physical custody involves where the children live and what the parenting plan (or visitation schedule) is. If parties have similar amounts of time with the children, they have “shared physical custody,” even if it is not exactly 50/50. If one party has significantly more time with the children than the other parent, that parent has “primary physical custody” or “primary physical possession” of the children.

There is a trend towards not characterizing a parenting plan as “primary” physical custody since that may make the other parent feel marginalized.  In many judgments, the parenting schedule is defined, but it is not “characterized.”