Joint physical & legal custody-agreements


Dear philzone:

Greetings. Here are your answers:

  1. As long as you describe the set days and nights you will have throughout the year, you can call it that.

  2. No, I don’t think that it would be. Best of luck.

Janet L. Fritts
Attorney with Rosen Divorce
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607

The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.



My wife and I had our first custody mediation appointment this week, and we managed to agree in principle (shockingly) that my child will spend approximately 145 nights with me per year. My wife also is allowing me ‘joint legal custody’ in the agreement. I have a couple of questions as follows.

  1. I would like to add ‘joint physical custody’ to our custody agreement. My understanding is that these terms are not defined by statute in NC, and therefore, any definitions of the meaning of these terms (excluding child support calculations) must be stipulated in the custody agreement itself. Do you agree with my understanding?

  2. I work approximately 50 miles from my child’s daycare facility currently, which is located at my spouse’s employer. I will have Wednesday nights with my child, which will entail driving 150 miles on Wednesday/Thursday. For pragmatic purposes, it seems reasonable that I will only be able to spend one night during the week with my child and still work full-time. However, if I decide to move closer to my daughter’s child care, I may want to revisit the issue of weekday overnights in the future (say, two nights instead of one). My question is, if I move closer, is this grounds for the modification of a custody agreement in the future, and if so, can such language be incorporated into a current custody agreement?

Thank you for your time. Sorry I was long-winded, but this stuff is complicated!

Best regards.