Earlier this year, this Stockton family law blog examined the benefits and drawbacks of sole custody arrangements of children. In some scenarios, it can serve a child's best interests if only one of his parents is making decisions about his or her upbringing and is only living out of one home. However, other family situations favor joint child custody arrangements. In a joint custody plan, parents can share the decision-making power and physical custody of their kids.
Parents can seek joint physical custody, joint legal custody or joint physical and legal custody of their children in the event of a divorce. Operating in a joint custody plan can work if parents are able to respectfully communicate and adhere to the rules of their custody determinations; doing so is not possible for all divorced or separated couples. Before agreeing to a child custody arrangement, families have to consider if the benefits of joint custody arrangements outweigh the potential drawbacks in terms of serving the involved children.
Joint custody, when properly managed, can benefit children as well as their parents. Many children thrive when they are able to maintain meaningful contact with both of their parents and spend time in each of their households. Completely related to these benefits are the advantages parents often experience. Parents who share custody of their children may feel less pressure with regards to their children when they are not the only ones in control.
However, as indicated earlier in this post, joint custody arrangements are sometimes impossible for divorced or separated couples. Particularly when marriages end on bad terms and the former partners are unable to put their differences aside for the benefit of their kids, children can suffer as a result of their parent's animosity.
Attorneys who work in the family law field can help their clients determine the best form of child custody for their particular case. They can then advocate those positions for their clients when it comes time to establish child custody plans. For some families a joint arrangement may serve multiple interests while in other families such an arrangement may not be possible to achieve.