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The Benefits of Joint Custody and Co-Parenting for your Child’s Well Being

Co-Parenting in a Joint Custody Arrangement

Co-Parenting in a Joint Custody Arrangement

Your child may mean the world to you, but in a divorce, it’s important for parents to realize that spending time with each child is what brings the most value to the child. For some couples, joint custody and  co-parenting is the only option, as it allows each parent to have a say in their child’s upbringing. For others, joint custody is a tough decision, as there may be history of abuse or just personal reasons for one parent wanting sole custody. However, as long as your child’s safety won’t be compromised, you may want to consider these benefits of joint custody.

 

Joint custody encourages co-parenting.

Just because you and your ex have joint custody doesn’t mean you will each raise your child the same and have the same rules and consequences. However, many couples have found that joint custody does create a balance between exes and encourages them to co-parent. After all, by doing so, you and your ex will share the same rules and punishments for each household, and you’ll have someone to back you if your child ever becomes difficult. And even though you’ll be in separate houses, this type of teamwork—while it may be frustrating to your child when they’re in trouble—will also provide a balanced upbringing that provides plenty of benefits.

 

Joint custody encourages shared expenses.

Child support payments and arrangements will vary by state and by case. In some joint custody arrangements, one parent does still pay child support to the other. However, in others, sometimes joint custody eliminates the need for child support payments. No matter how your situation falls, joint custody does encourage shared expenses for the child. For instance, you and your ex can agree to split the cost of doctor bills, extracurricular activities, school registration fees, etc. This helps to ease the burden financially (while also forcing you two to communicate with one another.)

 

Joint custody gives you a routine.

Joint custody arrangements give you and your child a routine, as everyone knows the schedule and what days the child will be with which parent. Not only does this type of routine help your child, but it also lets you schedule your own life. For instance, if you have to schedule something for work or you just want to go out with friends and have a night on the town, you can do so. That’s because you’ll know exactly what days you’ll be free, and you won’t have to worry about finding a babysitter or getting home early.

 

Joint custody makes you enjoy the little things.

As a parent, you know that sometimes your child can drive you crazy, and there will be times when you feel as if all you do is argue, clean up after, or just feel overwhelmed by your child. First of all, this is normal, so don’t feel like you’re a bad parent. And second of all, when you’re in a joint custody situation, you now have a break, which gives you time to appreciate the little things. For instance, since you may not spend quality time with your child every day, it will encourage you to do more fun things and create more lasting memories with your child. In addition, it will also make you appreciate them, as absence makes the heart grow fonder.

 

Even if your divorce was messy and emotional, realize there is a sunny side to splitting custody with your ex. Joint custody is a great way for many parents to remain active in the child’s life and still have access to all the wonderful events that come with raising a child. Most importantly, when you co-parent, it creates a relaxed and safe environment for your child. He or she will know that they are not stuck in the middle of a battle between their parents.

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The Difference Between Joint and Physical Custody

If you are a parent and you are going through a divorce then one of the things that is going to be discussed immediately is the custody of the children. There are two main types of custody when it comes to the kids, joint and physical. If you are going through any type of custody battle or situation then it is important to understand the difference between these two.

Joint Custody

When someone is awarded joint custody, the custody of the child is shared 50/50. This means that the child is going to spend 50% of their time with you and 50% of their time with their other parent. In some cases the percentages can not be exact but they should be close. In today’s divorce courts joint custody, which can also be called shared or equal custody, is becoming the most common ruling. The reason behind this is that studies have shown that children benefit greatly when co-parenting is involved and both parents take an active role in their life.

In addition it seems that more fathers are asking to have equal parenting as they are going through a divorce. In most situations this is the best choice for the child. However, it does require the two parents to live in close proximity to one another. It also requires that the parents be able to get along and that they can make decisions together when it comes to the interest of the child.

Of course if the parents can not get along or if the parents do not live close to one another this is not going to work out for them or the child involved. So if that is the case another type of custody should be considered.

Physical Custody

When one parent of a child is awarded physical custody of that child, then the child is going to live with them. There will be a set visitation schedule for the other parent to get to see the child on a regular and consistent basis. The divorce papers will either call this physical custody or sole physical custody. This type of custody awards the parent with certain rights and responsibilities that are shared between the parents with joint custody.

In most cases the child spends the majority of their time with one parent. The child usually has a week night visit and a visit every other weekend with the parent who does not have custody of the child. The holidays and special events in the child’s life are also shared between the two parents or set schedule is made. Depending on the courts in the area where you live, these visitation schedules can be quite liberal. If you are the parent who has not been awarded physical custody, it is your right to ask that you have liberal visitation times with your child.

The biggest mistake that is made is that the non-custodial parent does not get the court to define a set visitation schedule, liberal or otherwise. For instance with the standard schedule mentioned above, make sure that there is one week night stated in the paperwork if the parents can not agree. This way you are getting your child that one set night regardless. If you leave it open ended you could end up fighting all of the time about what night is best for both you and the child. The custodial parent could have the child in activities that would interfere with your choice of nights and could leave you unable to follow through with the visitation because of work and other things.

Additionally it is very important that pick up and drop off times be stated clearly for all dates of visitation. This should be included for holidays, week night visits, weekends, and vacation periods. If you are awarded the most common type of visitation schedule you can expect that you will have your child one week night, every other weekend, every other holiday (rotating each year so that you have the child on the opposite holidays during the other years), and for two weeks of vacation during the summer. This is pretty much the standard set minimum for visitation.

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