What is physical placement?

Physical placement is the legal term that refers to the times in which a court has ruled a child spend with either parent. During physical placement, the parent is directly responsible for the child's safety, well-being, and care. In a typical child custody case, the non-custodial parent is given physical placement every other weekend, and alternating holidays.

What does Physical Placement Mean?

Physical placement is the actual time a child is spent in a parent’s care. Not to be confused with legal custody, which authorizes decision-making on major issues. Typically the non-custodial parent is given physical placement every other weekend, and alternating holidays.

When the child is in physical placement with one parent, that parent has the right to have the child physically live with him/her for set “periods of placement.” When the child is with that parent, the parent is responsible for making daily decisions concerning the child, such as:

  • bed-time
  • extracurricular activities
  • discipline
  • social activities
  • study hours, etc…

When deciding on a schedule for physical placement a court cannot favor one parent over the other without a valid reason. The court must order routine periods of physical placement that are both meaningful and maximizes the amount of time spent with each parent. If the couple was married and separate/divorce without establishing legal custody or placement, both parents have equal rights to custody and placement.

A court may not deny physical placement for a child with a parent based on that parent’s
failure to provide financial support.

The child is entitled to time with both parents unless physical placement would endanger the child:

  • physical
  • mental
  • or emotional health

Placement Order

The placement order addresses where and with whom the child actually spends time. It’s basically a schedule of the time that a child will spend with each parent. Ideally, the placement is specific and easy to adhere to. If the placement order is too vague can be hard to enforce. Additionally, if the order is too vague a lot of confusion can happen between parents who do not communicate well with one another. Specificity is optimal when it comes to placement orders. A consistent schedule is best for the child/children.

Physical Placement for the Best Interests of the Child

To do what is best for the child, the court must take a number of things into consideration.

The following factors, among others, are examined to settle on a placement schedule that is in the best interest of the child/children:

  • availability of each parent to provide care for the children
  • the wishes of each parent
  • family and other significant relationships
  • past parenting time and proposed changes
  • the wants and needs of each child
  • availability of child care
  • cooperation between parents
  • and support or interference of each parent with the other’s relationship with the children


These things are taken into consideration because stability and predictability are important for the development of a healthy child.

Physical Placement for Unmarried Parents

In a situation where the child/children are born to unmarried parents, if the parents split up and the parents and do not establish custody arrangements, the mother becomes the legal custodian.

Need Immediate help? Call (888) 240-8146 now.
Call for Immediate Assistance (888) 240-8146
or fill out the form below to book a consult.

More Child Custody FAQs

Three Simple Steps

Find out how simple the divorce process can be when you work with a law firm that puts you first. Book your consult today!

1. Contact

2. Schedule

3. Move Forward

Book Your Consultation with Sterling Lawyers, LLC

Sterling Lawyers, LLC
Divorce & Family Law Client Reviews

4.4

560 Reviews
See all Reviews

"I would highly recommend this Law Firm. I was in a situation where I was unsure if I needed to have an attorney or not, and after talking with them & having been side tracked thru the Milw Courts for a Family Matter I decided to hire them. Living 3 hours away & working full time I was able to do all the paperwork via Fax & Email. They gave me options that I myself would of not even thought of. They were upfront with the costs of services I may have needed, Luckily I was able to get this matter ruled in my favor and got my case transferred out of Milw Co. They respond to your questions in a timely matter &keep you updated as to what they have or are doing with your case. Being 43 yrs old & never had to hire an attorney & being in a different county & finding their law firm by Googling & reading all the reviews to make a call us all it took. Was confident when my court date came that we had information to back my claim & Erin Boyd was Ready to fight for me & my son's. They all work together to find the right attorney for your needs. HOLLY & ERIN both made me feel at ease knowing what was in store & what would have to be done if we needed to proceed to the next step. I would recommend them to anyone that needs someone to fight for them. Erin asked questions & If I had messages & all I had to do was email them to her & she had them if we needed to pull them out in court. I was nervous &Erin put my nerves at ease. So happy I was able to put this chapter behind since it's been on going since 2009. Just wish I would be able to use them again in my county cuz they would be the firm I call. But If I am ever needing a recommendation for a legal matter I will contact them & ask for direction. THANKS AGAIN ERIN & THE REST OF THE FIRM."

- Lori L.
  Full Google Review

Call for Immediate Assistance (888) 240-8146
or fill out the form below to book a consult.