Sole Physical Custody

Physical and Legal Custody

Custody refers to the physical and legal custody of your child.
Physical custody is where your child resides physically, or where your child lives, and the everyday care of your child.
Sole physical custody means that your child lives with one parent and that parent is the custodial parent. Your child's other parent has visitation time with the child and is called the non-custodial parent.
The alternative to sole physical custody is joint physical custody.
Custody X Change is software that helps parents create a sole custody schedule and custody agreement.

Make Your Sole Custody Plan Now

When to have sole custody arrangements
Parents should have a sole custody arrangement when:

Examples of sole custody visitation schedules
If you have a sole physical custody arrangement you need to make a visitation schedule that shows when your child will spend time with the non-custodial parent.

Some common sole custody visitation schedules include:

You can add midweek visits or overnights to any of these schedules to modify them to fit your needs.

State preferences for joint custody

Many states have laws that prefer joint custody over sole custody. Courts in these states will order joint custody as the default unless a parent can prove that sole custody is in the best interest of the child.

Remember that joint custody doesn't mean that both parents get equal parenting time with the child. If you want sole custody because you want your child to live primarily with you, you may still be able to have the living arrangements you want with joint custody. Your state custody guidelines can help you know how to proceed.

You can still seek sole custody in a state that prefers joint custody. If you have clear and compelling evidence that your child will do better with sole custody, the court will likely grant it.

Pros and Cons of Sole Physical Custody

Pros of sole physical custody include:
Cons of sole physical custody include: