If you are separating from your child’s other parent, you may find yourself arguing over who your child should live with and who should make decisions for them. If you are unable to decide on an arrangement, you will both present your cases in front of a family court judge who come up with a custody and visitation plan for your family.
Unless there is a parental history of drug/alcohol abuse or domestic violence, the court will likely support the idea of joint physical and legal custody. A joint custody arrangement requires that both parents work together to support the child and make sure to meet their needs.
Joint physical custody
When a parent has physical custody of a child, the child will live with that parent and that parent will be in charge of the child’s everyday needs while the child is in their home.
In a joint physical custody arrangement, the child will live with each parent for a certain percentage of time per year. However, unless the parents live near each other, it may not be possible for parents to divide their physical custody time equally. As long as both parents have physical custody for a significant amount of time, it will still be a joint custody arrangement.
Joint legal custody
Parents who have legal custody of their children have the ability to make decisions on the child’s behalf. These decisions can range from deciding where the child goes to school or what medical treatment the child should receive.
If parents have joint legal custody of a child, they both have the power to make major decisions for the child. Joint legal custody requires that both parents work together to make decisions in the best interest of the child. If the parents are unable to work together or one parent is incapable of making these types of decisions, the court may award sole legal custody to one parent.
Joint physical and legal custody can encourage both parents to stay actively involved in their child’s life after the divorce. Choosing an attorney to represent you in child custody matters can help ensure that your custody arrangement suits the best interests of your child.