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Legal Information: Vermont


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December 13, 2019

What are the options for physical responsibility (physical custody)?

Physical responsibility or physical custody refers to the right to have your child live with you and stay overnight with you. The parent with physical responsibility takes care of the child’s day-to-day needs.1

When the child lives with one parent, that parent has sole physical responsibility or sole custody. A parent with sole physical responsibility has the child live with him or her for most of the time. Legally, a parent with sole custody is responsible for the child’s care for between 75% and 100% of the child’s time.2

When parents share the responsibility for taking care of a child and having the child live with them, this is called shared physical responsibility. Here are some examples of shared physical responsibility:

  • your child spends one week with you and then one week with the other parent
  • your child spends weekdays with you and weekends with the other parent.

A judge can also order split physical responsibility or split custody when there’s more than one child involved. When parents have split physical responsibility, some of the children live with the mother while the rest live with the father.

1 VT ST T. 15 § 664
2 VT ST T. 15 § 657(a)(d)