The Post-Divorce-Parenting Glossary

Divorced-Parenting Term

Sole Physical Custody

   Sole physical custody is a child custody arrangement where the child physically resides at one home. As opposed to joint custody where the child has two homes, sole custody does not have the child move from one home to another via the terms of the separation agreement.
   Instead, the non-custodial parent will visit the child.  This may include sleepovers at the primary custodial parent's home.
   While there are some benefits to sole physical custody, like a more stable routine for the child, the drawback is that the non-custodial parent feels more like a visitor than a parent.  This has the tendency to increase conflict and confuse the child as to what parental say each parent should have in the child's life.  Because parenting involves much more than just the activities spent during a visit, sole physical custody robs the non-custodial parent of his or her chance to really parent the child, as would be the case in a joint custody arrangement with a co-parenting lifestyle.


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