Joint Custody Arrangements
Joint custody is a concept that has been gaining a lot of popularity from co-parents and family law professionals alike. Joint custody arrangements are most often seen as being in the best interest of the child. Many family law professionals favor joint custody arrangements because both co-parents are required to play an active role in raising their child. It has been found to be beneficial to the child when both co-parents are active in the parenting process.
Creating an effective joint custody arrangement
In order to create an effective joint custody arrangement you and your co-parent must be able to discuss all of the issues that will go into your custody agreement. These issues can vary greatly depending on the preferences of you and your co-parent. Joint custody agreements can be long and detailed or they can also be short and to-the-point. As long as you and your co-parent are able to agree on all of the issues and effectively implement them then following your joint custody arrangement should be fairly easy.
For many co-parents actually sitting down and discussing the issues that will go into their joint custody arrangement is the hard part. Co-parents who are going through a divorce don’t always have warm and fuzzy feelings towards one another. It’s important to put all of your personal issues aside during this time and just focus on the issues of your joint custody arrangement. Some of the most important issues that should be considered are discussed in the following paragraphs.
The custody schedule
The custody schedule is arguably one of the most important aspects of any joint custody arrangement. The custody schedule that you and your co-parent agree on will essentially define how custody will be divided between the two of you. Be sure to spend a lot of time discussing this issue with your co-parent so that you are both able to agree on a single type of custody schedule. There are a number of premade custody schedules that family law professionals often recommend to co-parents. These can often act as a guide to co-parents who are creating their own joint custody schedules. Check out our article, Shared Custody Schedules, for a few examples and explanations.
Splitting expenses and child support
A joint custody arrangement is unique because both co-parents play an active role in parenting their child. In many cases child support can be put aside in a joint custody arrangement due to the fact that both co-parents are financially supporting their child. This is not true for all cases. Child support and split expenses is often an issue that must be dealt with in the courtroom. Nevertheless, co-parents often find it beneficial to define their agreements on splitting expenses in their custody plan.
Effectively communicating with your co-parent
Communication is key when it comes to an effective co-parenting relationship. Although communication is not necessarily something that needs to be accounted for in your joint custody arrangement, many co-parents find it helpful to define how they will communicate with each other to effectively parent their child. This is especially helpful for co-parents who are in a high conflict relationship. Reducing conflict is essential for an effective joint custody arrangement.
The best advice for co-parents when creating their own joint custody arrangements is to seek help from a family law professional. Be sure to find a family law professional near you who is familiar with the divorce and custody laws of your area. For a list of professional resources trusted by the OurFamilyWizard website® visit our Divorcing, What You Can Expect by State resource guide.