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Joint Custody: When Is It Actually Ideal?

When it comes to awarding custody, a judge will be looking at what the best interests of the child are. Normally speaking, a court will presume that joint custody is ideal for the child, and many parents may feel the same way. But is this always true? Every situation is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to something as crucial as child custody.

Of course, there is a reason that joint custody is what courts award so often. It can help the child have a secure future to have a healthy relationship with both parents. If both parents have physical custody, then this means that the child gets to live with each parent and be provided for by both of them. If each parent has legal custody, then they each have a say in the child's life. They can both make such vital decisions as where the child will go to school, how he or she will be brought up, what medical treatments to pursue, etc. With joint custody, ex-spouses may have to cooperate to co-parent. This may help them keep things amicable, or at least polite. They may even be helping each other out when they share physical and/or legal custody. The weight of making all the major decisions does not fall on one person, or both parents contribute to providing for the child. This can ease the duties for each parent.

Of course, that only applies in the right circumstances. It can be hard on the child to have to constantly move back and forth, especially if he or she is younger. Just adjusting to the different schedules of each parent can take its toll. Then co-parenting does not always run smoothly. It could just be a way for two hostile parties to maintain contact, creating more opportunities for them to fight. Co-parents may be bad at sharing responsibility too. Having joint physical custody may make one parent think this is an excuse to not bother, but to leave it to the other parent to provide necessaries. Perhaps the same would go with legal custody, as one parent leaves off important decisions to the other parent.

In order to rightly determine child custody, a judge will have to fully assess your specific case. Or perhaps you and your spouse can reach a settlement yourselves, such as through the mediation process. In this case, you will have to honestly assess your ability to cooperate with the other parent to care for the child and what your child's needs are. Perhaps a combination of joint custody is best, where one parent has physical custody, and you both have legal custody, for example. Contact a Long Island divorce attorney about your situation. At the Meyers Law Group, P.C., we can help you achieve an optimal solution.