What is Joint Custody?
When parents share the guardianship of a child but do not live together, this is considered joint custody. The parents will make decisions together about:
- Overall or day-to-day care of the child
- Educational decisions
- Housing the child
- Medical decisions
- A set schedule that details the days each parent has custody of the child
The Three Different Types of Joint Custody
- Joint legal custody is the decisions of both parents in raising a child. This includes which religious beliefs to implement, whether to allow the child to attend therapy or join a sports team, etc.
- Joint physical custody is the joint decision of where the child will be located. It is not uncommon in joint custody cases for one parent to be the primary caregiver.
- Joint legal and physical custody encompasses both legal and physical custody and allows both parents a role in the child’s upbringing and physical location.
Avoiding Visitation Issues After a Divorce
If you are in the process of divorcing your spouse, you will want to contemplate joint child custody. In all situations, the best interests of the child should be taken into account when negotiating a custody arrangement. First and foremost, always keep in mind that you are doing all of this for your child, not yourself. The end goal is making sure your child is raised in a happy, loving, and stable environment. In the terrible event of domestic violence or substance abuse on an ex-partner’s part, some families have found joint custody to be a workable solution for co-parenting after a split. This way, the more stable partner can set safe boundaries for the child to see their other parent. Consulting with an experienced professional is highly advised such as the Family Trust Attorney Scottsdale AZ locals have been turning to for years.
Joint Custody Requires Mutual Flexibility Between Parents
Because the two parents will likely have conflicting schedules, it may require that one or both prepare to be flexible to accommodate a sometimes fluid custody arrangement. A set schedule is essential to a child. Yes, schedules change, situations change, sometimes through no fault of yourself or ex-spouse, but having a balanced and firm schedule will help your child feel secure so that they can flourish. You must be willing to communicate with your ex-spouse even when you don’t feel like talking to them. If you do not wish to speak in person, there are other forms of communication available that can help.
- One option is to create an online calendar to which you both have access, adding and deleting appointments as they affect your child’s care.
- Text or email is another option.
- If both parties avoid last minute changes as much as possible this will help all concerned.
Legal Protection Under the Law
One of the hardest things about a divorce is determining a child custody arrangement that is suitable for both of the parents, as well as the child. Joint custody is a popular solution and one that can heavily benefit your child. Regardless of what arrangement you come to, it is very important to specify the custody arrangement in writing. This can help protect your rights and the rights of your child. For help with your child custody arrangement, it is advised that you seek the legal guidance of a family law attorney.
A special thanks to our Authors at Hildebrand Law for their insight into Family Law.