Physical Custody

If you are currently going through a divorce and there are children involved, you and your spouse will inevitably wonder: “How will custody be arranged and how often will I see my children?”  Although we have heard numerous titles to describe parenting time breakdowns over the years, on a simplistic basis, without reference to any titles, physical custody just refers to the time each parent will have with the child(ren).

Because it is so common to refer to various titles for physical custody arrangements, we have developed several pages to address each type of custody arrangement.  In general, three types of physical custody are available: 1) primary custody; 2) joint custody; and, 3) sole (or full) custody.  In common practice and without reference to any laws in Georgia, primary custody refers to the arrangement where one parent has the majority of time with a child.  Joint custody refers to the arrangement where the parties split parenting time roughly equally.  Sole custody refers to the arrangement where one parent has nearly all of the time with the child.  In addition, there is also the concept of split parenting time, whereby one child spends the majority of his or her time with one parent and the other child spends the majority of time with the other parent.  To learn more about each type of arrangement, please visit one of our subpages on different child custody types (links below).

Regardless of the definitions, however, please keep in mind that these designations regarding times are often blurred and what usually matters is actual time with your child, not some title or designation.  To learn more about common schedules of various parenting time arrangements, please visit our page on sample parenting plans (links below).

With respect to the determination of physical custody, it may be made by the parties themselves (via a parenting plan agreement which is subject to judicial approval) or, if the parties cannot work it out themselves, by the judge presiding over the case. Regardless of how the determination is made, the best interests of the child or children involved must be considered by the court before any physical custody arrangement is ordered.


“During various life events, I had to seek the counsel of an attorney.  To this date, Nancy Ghertner is the most impressive attorney that I have ever hired.  Nancy is diligent at securing the best results for her clients, professionally personable, intelligent, ethical, and reasonably priced for her services. But, most of all, I felt that she very sincerely personally cares about her clients. If I ever need to seek legal counsel again, I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and call Nancy as many of my friends and family members have done”

S.H. Cumming, GA

Wanted to thank you for all your advice and instruction.  You were so kind and thoughtful.  I am so fortunate that we crossed paths.  My divorce was final 12-30 and now I can work on moving forward with a healthy future!  I am keeping you on file for friends and will be happy to refer you.

C.S. Marietta, GA

“My first experience in working with Nancy was when she worked with me during my divorce. She took a very pragmatic approach to managing what is a very emotionally charged situation. I knew that together we would get through that difficult time. Because of that experience, I have continued to work with Nancy on all of my personal legal matters since. I have also, and will continue to recommend her to anyone looking for a great attorney.”

J.M. Roswell, GA

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W.H. Newnan, GA

Nancy Ghertner has been my attorney for many (many) years.  It started with handling a divorce in a very articulate and professional manner.  She was able to explain everything and guide me to make the best legal decisions. She is knowledgeable but more importantly I trust her 100%.

I have recommended her to others when they needed legal guidance for family situations.  She is always my “go to” person.  I’m very comfortable in knowing that she will provide the same level of excellent legal service that I have always received.

J.N. Cumming, GA