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Parenting together after divorce

Parents know that some of the most difficult issues to navigate during a divorce are those relating to child custody. It is never easy to decide where a child will live and how often parents will get parenting time, even when both parties are amicable and willing to resolve issues without litigation.

In order to minimize the potential impact that a divorce can have on a child, many parents choose a joint custody agreement. With this type of custody plan, parents can share visitation with the children, allowing them to maintain strong relationships and an active role in the lives of their kids, even after a marriage is over. 

What does this entail? 

While every type of custody arrangement can be uniquely suited to meet the needs of the individual family, most of the time joint custody means that parents will share parenting time. While this does not necessarily mean that parents will evenly split visitation time or share equally in the legal responsibility for the children, it does mean that children will have substantial time with both parents on a regular basis. 

Parents have the right to work together on an agreement that uniquely suits the interests of their family. The court's main concern is protecting the best interests of the kids, but parents do not have to resort to litigation to achieve a workable parenting plan.

Legal custody and physical custody

In a joint custody agreement, parents must determine how they will share physical custody and legal custody. The differences between these two things are as follows:

  • Physical custody: This refers to the time that a child is actually with a parent, including weekend visitation, holiday schedules, vacation and more.
  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to decision-making authority for the child. This includes the right to make decisions regarding education, religious upbringing, health care and more.

Parents may share both physical and legal custody, or one parent may maintain legal custody while both share physical custody, or vice versa. The arrangement that is best for your family will depend on the circumstances of your unique case and your individual family.

A peaceful post-divorce future

Divorce is a challenging process, and it can be most difficult for the youngest members of the family. Your goal may be to provide a peaceful and stable future for your kids, and a joint custody arrangement may be a way that you can provide that. Before agreeing to the terms of any arrangement, though, you will want to make sure you have a clear understanding of what this will mean for your family both now and in the future.  

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