As one of the increasingly popular arrangements for managing parental responsibilities and rights, joint custody has become an important tool for arranging post-divorce or separation parenting services. It provides both custodial parents with equal opportunities to interact with the child while allowing them a larger voice in deciding how the child will be cared for, but it is not without its complexities.
This blog post aims to provide a comprehensive guide to joint custody so that attorneys, lawyers, courts and custodial parents can better weigh their options and decide what arrangement would best suit their family’s needs.
What is Joint Custody?
It is a joint legal and/or physical care arrangement between two custodial parents. This type of arrangement allows for joint decision-making power over the child, including matters related to education, religion, extracurricular activities, medical decisions and more. It also grants both parties equal access to the child’s financial accounts and assets.
The two forms of joint custody are joint legal custody and joint physical custody.
- Joint legal custody grants both parents equal decision-making power over the child,
- Joint physical custody is an arrangement that allows for a more regularly shared living situation between the two custodial parents.
Which is Better: Legal or Physical Joint Custody?
The decision of which arrangement is the best choice for a particular family depends on a variety of factors. Legal joint custody is generally considered to be the more flexible option, as parents can live in separate residences and still share equal decision-making power over their child.
However, joint physical custody offers additional benefits such as reducing psychological stress and providing a more stable and familiar environment for the child. Ultimately, this custody arrangements can be tailored to fit individual family needs, circumstances, and preferences.
Benefits of Joint Custody
Joint custody arrangements can provide both custodial parents with a sense of empowerment and responsibility in caring for their children. It also allows them to collaborate on decisions that affect the child, which can reduce conflict between the two parties.
Furthermore, these arrangements often foster strong relationships between the child and each parent by providing equal access to both parties. This can help to create a healthy and positive environment for the child.
Drawbacks of Joint Custody
Joint custody arrangements require both custodial parents to be on the same page when it comes to decisions that affect the child. If they are not, joint custody arrangements can quickly become acrimonious and difficult to manage.
Additionally, joint custody arrangements can be logistically challenging to arrange and maintain. It requires two households at a minimum and often involves complex scheduling and communication with the other parent.
Preparing for a Hearing on Joint Custody
If this type of custody is being discussed in a court hearing, it’s important to prepare accordingly. Both custodial parents should be aware of their rights and obligations according to the law, as well as any potential pitfalls that joint custody may bring.
Custodial parents should also attempt to come to an agreement on this custody terms in advance of the hearing. This may help to avoid any potential disputes in court and make the joint custody order easier for both parents to follow.
When Do Courts Decide Joint Custody?
Courts will typically decide this type of custody when both parents are deemed fit to care for the child and can demonstrate a joint commitment to raising the child.
However, joint custody arrangements may not be in the best interest of the child if there is evidence of domestic violence, substance abuse or other forms of parental misconduct. In such cases, this custody arrangement may not be feasible, and courts may instead favor sole custody arrangements as the best option.
Can a mom keep away the child from its father?
No. If an arrangement is awarded, both parents have equal rights to access and joint decision-making power over the child. A mother cannot legally keep away a child from her/his father without court approval or an agreement between both parties.
Do these arrangements require shared living arrangements?
No. Joint legal custody allows custodial parents to live in separate residences while still having joint decision-making power over the child. Joint physical custody, on the other hand, requires both custodial parents to share a residence with the child.
Does joint custody always require joint legal and physical arrangements?
No. This arrangement can include either joint legal or joint physical custody or both. The decision is ultimately up to the court and depends on the individual circumstances of each case. Joint custody arrangements can be tailored to fit specific needs, circumstances, and preferences.
Joint custody is an increasingly popular parenting arrangement that allows both custodial parents to share in the decision-making process for their children. While this type of custody can provide a sense of empowerment and responsibility, it should be carefully considered by couples before committing to joint legal or physical custody arrangements.
By weighing the benefits and drawbacks of joint custody, attorneys, lawyers, courts and custodial parents can decide which arrangement is best suited for their family’s needs.