During divorce, parents are naturally concerned with how their choice to end their marriage will impact their children. In order to minimize negative effects and allow their children to have a certain amount of continuity of lifestyle, some Arizona parents choose a joint custody arrangement. While not the best choice in every situation, joint custody offers many benefits.
One of the main benefits of joint custody is the fact that it allows the children to have regular access to both parents. There is clear evidence that children need this opportunity, and it can actually reduce the negative impact of a divorce. However, before you agree to a joint custody arrangement, it is important to consider all factors that could affect your time with your kids and your rights as the parent.
Things to consider before agreeing
Joint custody is not always a genuine 50-50 split of parenting time. Many families find that this simply does not work for their lives and schedules. You can still have a joint custody plan that allows for the most fair and sustainable division of parenting time. Before you sign, you would also be wise to consider what joint custody could mean for your right to make decisions for your child.
There are two main types of custody that need to be addressed, even in a joint custody arrangement. Joint custody and legal custody will seriously impact your life after divorce, and it is prudent to be very clear on these matters. These types of custody will affect you in the following ways:
- Legal custody is the right that a parent has to make decisions for a child. If you do not have legal custody, you will not have a say in choices related to education, religion and more.
- Physical custody is the amount of time you will be able to spend with your child. This includes weekend visitation, holidays and summer breaks.
In a true joint custody plan, parents share both legal and joint custody, but in some situations, one parent may retain legal custody while sharing physical custody.
What is best for your family?
What will work best for your family depends on your unique circumstances and goals. It can be helpful to work with a legal professional who can help you understand your options and make the most prudent choices for your individual situation. Making decisions about custody is not easy, but you do not have to do it alone.