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Understanding joint custody's implications for your family

Making decisions regarding child custody are some of the most difficult during a divorce. Parents know that the end of their marriage can be difficult for the kids, and for this reason, they often decide to set aside disagreements and pursue a custody plan that allows the children to maintain a healthy relationship with both biological parents.

A joint custody arrangement is a common type of custody plan that can allow you to accomplish this goal. While it won't work in every situation, it could be an option for your family. If you would like to explore how you could share custody or how a joint custody plan may work in your individual situation, you would be wise to seek this information as soon as possible.

The many ways that a joint custody agreement works

There is no cookie-cutter solution for joint custody arrangements. Yours may look different from another family's joint custody plan. The most important thing is that your plan suits the individual needs of your children and your family. While an actual joint custody plan typically involves both parents sharing legal and physical custody, this is not always the case. It is useful to understand what each of these terms means:

  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the amount of time that a child is actually with one parent. This can include weekend visits, holiday schedules, summer break, family vacations and more.
  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to the authority that a parent has to make decisions for his or her child. This includes decisions regarding religious upbringing, education, health care and more.

Your joint custody arrangement may include a combination of these two factors. For example, one parent may retain full legal custody while sharing physical custody of the child. What works best for you and your kids depends on the factors and circumstances of your family, including unusual work schedules, special needs children and more.

The best future for your family

Joint custody is a popular choice for both courts and families. You do have the right to keep your divorce out of court by negotiating and working on the terms of your agreement together. No one knows your family like you do, and by custom tailoring your joint custody arrangement for your family, you can keep control over your family's future. Divorce is hard, but it is possible to secure a stable tomorrow and develop a workable custody plan.

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