While once it may have been more common for one parent to receive physical custody of a child with the other parent receiving visitation time, today, it is often the case that a Florida court will allow both parents to share physical custody of their offspring. Shared or joint physical custody means that both of a child’s parents have the right for their child to spend some of their timing living in the parents’ homes. When the child is in the custody of a parent, that parent is responsible for the child’s welfare.

Shared custodial plans do not always mean equal time in each of the parents’ homes, though. As with all matters related to child custody, the best interests of the particular child must be assessed to determine how to serve their needs in a shared physical custody plan.

For example, if a child’s parents live close to each other and it is easy for the child to transition between their homes during the school week, a court may allow the child to spend several nights with one parent before moving to the home of the other. If a child requires more stability during the school week or if transitioning from one parental home to the other is a more complex undertaking, then a court may devise a custodial plan that minimizes the impact of the transition on the child.

While some families may emerge from child custody cases with 50/50 physical custody splits, this simply is not the case for everyone. Due to the many factors that must be considered in custody matters readers are advised to discuss their child custody and family law questions with attorneys they know and trust.