"Physical custody and residence" means the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child. "Joint physical custody" means that the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between the parties.

Thus, if a parent receives a significant majority of the parenting time with the child(ren), then that parent will likely also be awarded sole physical custody by the Court. However, if each parent receives approximately equal parenting time with the children (it does not have to be exactly 50-50), then the parents will likely receive joint physical custody.

In order for the parents to receive joint physical custody, they must establish that they have (a) the ability to cooperate in the rearing of their children; and (b) methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the children, and have the willingness to use those methods. Further the Court will make a determination of (a) whether it would be detrimental to the children if one parent were to have sole authority over the child's upbringing; and (b) whether domestic abuse has occurred between the parents.

Prior to the year 2007, the issue of physical custody in Minnesota directly impacted the resulting child support obligation. At that time, the parent who did not receive sole physical custody was required to pay child support in the amount of 25% of his or her net income for one child (and additional amounts for additional children). However, effective January 2007, the Minnesota laws were changed so that the Minnesota physical custody labels no longer have any bearing on child support. Now, there are child support adjustments for the actual amount of time that the parents have with the children; it is not based solely on the physical custody label.