Any situation where parents are sharing either legal or physical custody of their offspring is considered joint custody. There are many forms of joint custody, including joint legal, joint physical, or both joint legal and physical custody.

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Joint Custody

Any situation where parents are sharing either legal or physical custody of their offspring is considered joint custody. There are many forms of joint custody, including joint legal, joint physical, or both joint legal and physical custody. It’s more common for parents who share physical custody to share legal custody, while parents who share legal custody will won’t always share physical custody

 

Joint Custody Arrangements         

Parenting agreements, often called joint custody arrangements, are usually created by parents and validated by a judge in order to layout schedules and childcare. It is common with parents who live close together to share joint custody where the child will rotate weeks or months. Otherwise, it’s wiser to have one primary parent with the child spending time with the other on split holidays and weekends.

 

A “bird’s nest custody arrangement” is an arrangement that allows for the parents to go back and forth while the child remains constant in the home. This type of arrangement is rewarding for young children who form emotional attachments to their family homes.

 

Sole Custody

Sole custody occurs when a judge gives either physical, legal, or both types of custody to one parent. Although less common, a judge may give sole physical or legal custody to one guardian of the child. If one parent is shown to be unfit, whether it is financial issues, drug/alcohol problems, or unsafe situations, custody will be awarded to the other parent. Another factor that could bar a parent from custody is living with a new partner who is deemed unsuitable to care for children.

 

A growing amount of judges favor awarding joint legal custody even when physical custody is the responsibility one parent. Even in these cases of sole custody, there has recently been a rise in better visitation rights for the other parent.

 

It is never a good idea to use sole custody as a way to punish a former partner. Children are already put through enough stress in a divorce even without being looked at as an asset or punishment.

 

Physical Custody

Physical custody is what typically comes to mind when thinking of child custody. This area of custody describes the right of the of the parent to have their child live with them. When the child stays with both parents for substantial amounts of time, it’s possible for physical custody to be shared. However, parents must live near enough to each other. When that isn’t the case, courts will typically refrain from placing additional stress on the child and award sole custody to one parent. In a case where one parents has sole physical custody, the other will typically retain visitation rights

 

Legal Custody

The authority to make decisions regarding the education, health, and upbringing of a child falls to the parent with legal custody. Having a joint custody where both parents must work to decide how to raise the child is also common; in fact, many states prefer having both parents make decisions for the child’s best interests. In a joint legal custody, if one parent makes decisions against or ignorant of the other’s wishes, they can reinforce the joint custody order by seeking a judge. Disjointed decisions aren’t punishable by law, but do have repercussions of additional embarrassment, stress, and legal costs when these issues are brought into court. If this happens repeatedly or maliciously, going back to court to argue for sole legal custody is a viable option.

 

Learn More:

Child Custody
How is the Child's Best Interest Determined?
What Other Factors Will the Judge Consider?
Joint Custody

 

 

 

The authority to make decisions regarding the education, health, and upbringing of a child falls to the parent with legal custody.
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Call the Bucks County Divorce and Family Law Attorneys at Liebmann Family Law, at 1.215.860.8200 or contact us online and schedule your free initial consultation.