Making Shared Physical Custody Work

Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can I do to gain custody of my child in North Carolina?”


When parents divorce, their main concern is usually the welfare of their children. In North Carolina, both parents should generally share custody of their children. Shared physical custody allows both parents to spend quality time with their children on a regular basis. Parents who are able to put their differences aside can provide a stable and loving environment for their children after divorce. A divorce attorney will help you establish the type of custody arrangement that will work best for your family.


playing-on-the-beach-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Child-Custody-Lawyers-300x205Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody


There are two main types of custody including physical and legal. Physical custody is where the child will reside while legal custody means who will make decisions on behalf of the child. Some of the common decisions that parents need to make include those regarding education, health care, and religion, to name just a few. Both parents generally share legal custody. A child may reside primarily with one parent while the non-custodial parent has regular visitation. In that case, the non-custodial parent often provides child support payments.


What is Shared Physical Custody?


Joint physical custody is also called shared custody. It means that you and the other parent share custody of the children. Shared custody may mean that the children spend a portion of time at one parent’s home and a similar portion of time at the other parent’s home. There are some advantages to shared custody. Shared custody typically provides children with equal access to both parents, so they still feel as though they are part of a family unit. True joint physical custody can be tricky to execute properly.


How to Make Joint Custody Work


True joint custody does not have to be complicated. It does, however, require parents to be able to get along, communicate, and work as a team to provide a stable and happy environment for their children. Parents will usually need to live close together so the children have the same school and network of friends. The goal is to make it as easy and stress-free as possible for kids to move from one home to the other on a regular basis. Parents can get creative when providing a family environment for their children after divorce.


Birdnesting is a term that was coined to describe parents who share the family home after divorce. Parents keep the family home where children live on a full-time basis. Each parent has another home where they live part of the time. In this scenario, each parent takes turns staying in the family home with the children. This situation can work well for some couples who want to ensure the least disruptive lifestyle for the kids. Of course, this is not the ideal solution for many families. If you are going through a divorce, the most important consideration for shared parenting is being able to work together to give children the same stability they would enjoy in a two-parent home. A parenting plan is useful in giving parents guidelines to follow after divorce.


Parenting after divorce can be challenging but it is still rewarding. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.






The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.






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