Joint custody is a popular choice, but is it right for you?

When parents divorce, it can be challenging for the youngest members of the family. Divorce is never easy, but Pennsylvania parents can provide stability and security for their children long after the process is final by choosing a custody plan that offers the kids a good relationship with both of their biological parents.

One of the ways that many families do this is by choosing a joint custody plan. This is a somewhat popular choice among divorcing parents as it gives both parties equitable time with the children, but it is not always the best option in every situation. You would be wise to learn about your options and make a decision based on what is best for your unique family.

Considerations for physical and legal custody

Joint custody does indicate that parents will share time with the children, but that does not mean that the plan will split parenting time precisely 50-50. Even with a joint custody plan, parents can choose to tailor the arrangement to suit their individual needs. In a joint custody plan, parents will have to address considerations for both physical and legal custody. The difference between these two is as follows:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the right that a parent has to make important decisions for the child, such as educational choices, religious upbringing and more. In many joint custody arrangements, one parent will retain legal custody, but it is possible to share it.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the amount of time that a child actually spends with his or her parent. In a joint custody plan, you would also be wise to address issues such as vacations, holiday visitation and summer school breaks.

A thoughtful, carefully drafted joint custody plan could be the option that works best for your family. No matter what, you would be wise to consider all the factors and issues that could affect your family before you make any critical decisions.

Your best post-divorce future

With the right custody plan, your family can avoid post-divorce complications and custody-related disputes. Joint custody does not work in every situation, but if you and your ex-spouse can commit to working together for the benefit of the children, this plan could offer you a beneficial way to parent after divorce.

The decisions you make during divorce will affect you and your children for years to come, and you would be wise to learn more about joint custody and the other custody options available to you.