What does Joint Custody mean?
The different types of joint custody arrangements include joint legal custody, joint physical custody and joint legal and physical custody.
Joint physical custody allows children to spend time with both parents according to a predetermined schedule. If the parents cannot agree on a schedule, the court will impose an arrangement. Common joint physical custody arrangements include alternating weeks and months at different houses or splitting the weekends. Joint legal custody allows both parents to have input for deciding major decisions for the child.
Proponents of joint custody argue the arrangement is good for children because it allows both parents to have continuous contact with the children. There are negatives, of course. For instance, under joint physical custody arrangement children must move from location to location, never having a full-time residence. Additionally, if parents are not willing to cooperate with each other the friction can be detrimental to the children. Before a divorce couples generally have the opportunity to develop a parenting plan, but it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer.