When it comes to child custody arrangements, there are many variables that must be considered. Previously, children usually ended up living with their mothers once the parents were divorced. This rule is not set in stone anymore, and more families are in favor of joint custody. The same tends to be true with the court system, Courts are tending to favor a joint custody arrangement between separated parties. (However, every situation varies).
Simply put, joint custody allows both parents to have the same amount of responsibility to care for their children; this includes physical and legal custody. Physical custody applies to a child’s living arrangement and the actual in-person time spent with each parent. Legal custody applies to decision making for the child. For example, where is the child going to school, what religion will they be raised with, and which doctor they should see.
Upside of Joint Custody
The obvious upside to Joint Custody arrangements is that the child will be able to have an equal relationship with both of their parents. Although there is some disagreement about mothers needing to spend more time with infants and babies, parents that spend more time with their children respond better and contribute more to their children’s success.
While parents will need to have effective communication and a willingness to work with one another, children that are able to share time with their parents are likely able to develop stronger personal relationships with both parents, as they are less likely to be pit against or forced to choose one parent over the other.
Downside of Joint Custody
Although joint custody may be the best choice, it is not for everyone. For parents already involved in their children’s lives that plan to continue doing so, it can work. Sometimes things aren’t as easy as they may seem to be. After separation, parents are likely to move apart, sometimes resulting in parents living in different school districts. When living in different districts, this poses transportation problems and arrangements that may not be considered when first discussing a visitation schedule.
Another common reason not to pursue joint custody is a parent’s work schedule. It is not uncommon to work different shifts. For example, dad may work third shift and mom may work first shift. These situations often make it difficult for a joint custody arrangement to be practical. While parents may be willing to exchange the children at odd hours, the courts tend to frown on custody arrangements that are not in the best interest of the children or results in change to their routine.
Factors to Consider
When thinking about joint custody, parents should be in agreement on certain things. There should be no history of domestic violence or abuse by either party. The parents should both want to be closely involved with raising the children. It is imperative that they cooperate when making decisions and agree that joint custody is in their children’s best interests. Parents need to be able to leave their frustrations at the door and work on the art of compromise. If parents believe they are able to be civil and agree, joint custody may be for you.
Jeremy Hahn of Roberts & Eddy, P.C. handles all aspects of family law for the firm. Please contact Mr. Hahn for a free initial consultation on family matters at (319) 334-3704.
** This is not legal advice, all such content is created for informational purposes only. You should contact an attorney to address your own specific needs**