This post expands on earlier posts: What is Child Custody?, Customizing Your Case – Physical Custody & Parenting Time, and Customizing Your Case – Legal Custody.
Physical custody involves where a child lives, when a child spends time with each parent, and any conditions. Physical custody is also called residential custody or parenting time. It includes the schedule, holidays, and vacation time, which are often referred to as visitation or access.
Physical custody falls into three broad categories:
- Sole physical custody, which is also referred to as primary;
- Shared physical custody, which is also referred to as joint; and,
- Split physical custody, when the parents have multiple children and at least one child resides with each parent.
In Maryland, we do not have a custody statute. Shared physical custody is defined, in the context of child support, as: “each parent keeps the child or children overnight for more than 35% of the year and…both parents contribute to the expenses of the child or children in addition to the payment of child support.” So, less than 35% of annual overnights is sole physical custody.