Understanding Your Custody Choices

Among the numerous big decisions that divorcing couples need to make are deciding what to do about child custody. If you and your spouse are the parents of a child under the age of 18, you should take some time to carefully consider all your options. The family court system is set up to protect the children of divorce, so you might want to ensure that you place the health and well-being of your child over that of yourselves when it comes to making provisions for their care. Read on to learn more about the two main choices when it comes to custody arrangements so that you can begin to make some decisions beforehand:

Two Confusing Custody Types

Most often, divorcing parents must choose between either shared custody or joint custody. If these two seem to be the same thing, you are not alone in your confusion. They may sound similar, but these two types of custody are actually quite different from each other. One of these may be perfect for you, so take a look at the summaries of each.

Shared Custody

This type of custody is often seen as the fairest since every effort is made to split the care of the child right down the middle in parental responsibility and custody (which is why it is also referred to as 50/50 parenting). Parents will need to live near one another and be able to work with each other since the child will be bouncing back and forth on a schedule. This type can work for any age child but may be more appropriate for younger children that have fewer school and social obligations. The child gets to spend about the same amount of time with each parent but will necessitate some organization with having two sets of belongings. Shared calendaring apps will be helpful to stay on top of schedules that will include school, sports, lessons, sleepovers, and more.

Joint Custody

While the name makes it seem just like shared custody, it is actually not that similar. With joint custody, one parent only is appointed to be the primary physical custodian of the child. The child will reside with this parent the majority of the time, and day to day activities will be the responsibility of that parent. The other parent is not left out of the arrangement , however; both parents are equally responsible for making important parenting decisions. Additionally, the non-custodian parent has visitation with the child, such as weekends or on vacation weeks. The visitation arrangements can be custom designed to work with your particular needs.

To learn more about these two custody types, speak to your divorce attorney.