Benefits of Primary Physical Custody

Last Updated on August 19, 2023 by Lori Pace

You are considering separating from your partner. One of the problems that is holding you back from separating is that you are going to be away for a while with your children. Parents who are primary caregivers of their children find this particularly difficult. So, what are benefits of primary physical custody?

While both parents have the right to parenting time with their children in most cases, you can establish yourself as the primary physical custodian. This ensures that the children are always in your care and maximizes the child support you receive. Money should never be a priority over the best interests of the children.

There are two types of custody in MA: legal and physical custody.

Legal Custody

It is important to decide which parent will make the most important decisions regarding the child’s education and healthcare. The court will usually give shared legal custody unless there is a serious issue between the parents. If both parents are able, they should be involved in major decisions affecting their children’s lives.

Physical Custody

This refers to how much time each parent spends with the children. Imagine a parenting spectrum. One parent gets almost all of the parenting time while the other sees very little. The other side has the parents sharing parenting time roughly equally. There are also parenting plans that fall somewhere in between these extremes.

Breakdown In Parenting Time 

It all depends on many factors such as which parent was the primary caregiver, whether there have been any substance abuse or criminal problems, the parents schedules, how close they are to their children, their relationship with them, where they live, and how far apart they live from one another.

Courts generally accept parenting plans that have been agreed to by parents, except for safety concerns. If the parents do not reach an agreement, the matter is in the hand of a Judge or a mediator.

The primary-care parent is the parent who spends the majority of their time with the child and has sole physical custody. If the parents have equal parenting time, they share physical custody.

Main Advantages, or Benefits Of Having Primary Physical Custody

Time with the Child

First and foremost, the primary care parent has custody of the children the majority of the time. The other parent usually has regular parenting time. The primary care parent has more time with the children, which gives them more control over their education, even in shared legal custody arrangements.

Child Support

Primary physical custody can have a significant impact on your finances. The parent with primary custody usually receives child support from the other parent.

The primary care parent receives “full guidelines child support” if the parenting time split is two-thirds for one parent and one-third for the other. If the parties have physical custody, however, they will use a different calculation. This effectively results in a lower amount, which is paid by either the higher or lower earner.

Sometimes, parents fight over parenting time. This is not because they truly want their children more but because they want to get a higher level of support or lower support obligations.

The Best Interest of the Children is Paramount

benefits of primary physical custody child best interest
Your child is the most important!

Parents should aim to establish a parenting plan that is in the best interests of their children. The best way to determine parenting time is to decide first according to what’s best for your children. After examining the parenting schedule and finances of the parents, it is time to make a fair financial arrangement.

The advantage of primary physical custody is that it allows for more time with the children, and can increase the chances of receiving a higher child support order. However, the best interests of the children should always be considered. A fair amount of support should result from this parenting arrangement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is joint legal custody with primary physical custody?

This arrangement is where the parents share the responsibility for major decisions but the child stays with one parent. Legal custody refers to which parent makes major decisions regarding the child’s health, education, religion, and housing. If one party has more parenting time than the other, then that party usually has physical custody.

What are my rights with primary physical custody?

Primary physical custody refers to how often the child spends time with each parent. Primary physical custody is when the child is in your care the majority of the day. It does not have to do with “rights”, as it pertains to decision-making, which is controlled under legal custody.

What does primary physical custody mean?

Parent with primary physical custody is the parent who spends most of the parenting time with the child. If the parenting time is 50/50, it’s called shared physical custody.

Benefits of primary physical custody?

As mentioned above, the primary physical custody has two main advantages, or benefits are:

  • Firstly, the child spends more time together with the primary custodial parent
  • And secondly, the parent is entitled to child support from their other parent.

Is primary physical custody the same as full custody?

Yes, primary custody can be shared with full physical custody. Legal custody is not the same as physical custody. It is about who makes the major decisions and how long the child spends with each parent. A parent can have both sole physical custody and shared legal custody.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!