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Legal Information: Alabama


March 9, 2021

What is physical custody?

The term “physical custody” refers to the parent who actually has primary physical responsibility and control of the child. Normally the parent who has physical custody is the parent with whom the child lives most of the time. When one parent has sole physical custody, the other parent usually gets visitation with the child. Also, the parent who has sole physical custody could receive child support from the other parent.

Joint physical custody refers to when physical custody is shared by the parents in such a way that the child has frequent and substantial contact with each parent, although not necessarily equal time with each parent. Parents may have joint physical custody while one parent has sole legal custody.

1 Alabama Code § 30-3-151