LLLT’s Guide to What is Joint Custody?

joint custody

When the Parents end their relationship whether they are married or unmarried, decisions must be made to the custody of the child(ren).  This blog is to help make sense of the legal terms often used in parenting plans.

In parenting plans there is physical and legal custody of the child(ren).

  • Physical custody is where the child resides physically and where the child(ren) resides every day and the care for your child(ren).
  • Legal custody is the authority to make decisions for and about your children.
  • Joint physical custody, also called shared physical custody, means that your child(ren) spends substantial time living with both parents and both parents have equal responsibility to physically care for your child.
  • Joint physical custody does not mean that parents have equal time with the child(ren). Rather, it means that both parents have substantial and frequent time with the child.
  • Joint legal custody is a way to give both parents a say in their child(ren) upbringing. It is meant for cases in which both parents are able and available to make important decisions.

Children generally do better if both parents are significantly involved in their lives. If you and the other parent can make joint physical custody work, it will benefit your child(ren).

This is accomplished best when:

  • Parents agree that it’s in the best interest of their child(ren).
  • Parents cooperate reasonably well and can make decisions together.
  • Parents live fairly close to each other and a joint arrangement is logistically possible.
  • Both parents want to be very involved in raising their child(ren).
  • There is no history of child abuse, domestic violence or withholding the child(ren).

Joint physical custody can work with almost any parenting residential schedule. If your child(ren) needs to live primarily with one parent, you can give more time to the other parent with midweek visits, extended weekends, longer holiday breaks, and school break visits. The other parent can also have contact with the child through phone calls, (skyping) facetime, email, texting, attending the child(ren) events and activities, etc.

If you have questions about parenting plans either agreed upon or contested, please contact Premier Legal Technician Firm for a free consultation to discuss your options and assist with the process and preparation of your parenting plan.