Shared Child Custody

Father carrying son on shoulders

There are a handful of different types of custody that can be awarded in a child custody case. The type of custody that will work out best in your situation should always be determined by recognizing what is in the best interest of your child. In cases where there is little to no conflict between co-parents, it is often seen as being in the best interest of the child to award shared child custody.

What is shared child custody?

In order to understand what shared child custody is you must first understand the basics of child custody. Child custody is defined as the legal and practical relationship between a child and a parent. In any child custody case, there are two types of custody that must be accounted for in the final parenting plan, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody is defined as the decision-making responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities include making important decisions regarding education, religion, health care, and so on. Physical custody is defined as the day-to-day care of the child. Physical custody also determines the primary residence of the child. You may often here the term joint custody being used. Joint custody is a unique type of custody that allows both co-parents to share either legal custody of the child, physical custody of the child, or both. In many cases where joint custody is awarded, both co-parents will share physical custody of the child but only one co-parent will be awarded sole legal custody of the child. Shared child custody is simply joint custody in which both legal and physical custody are shared between co-parents.

How will shared child custody be awarded?

Co-parents are often encouraged to determine the type of child custody that they will enforce outside of the courtroom. It is often seen as being in the best interest of the child if co-parents are able to reach an agreement on their own, after all, the parents of a child should know what’s best for their child over a judge in a courtroom. When co-parents are not able to come to an agreement on custody outside of the courtroom it is up to a family court judge to determine the best interest of the child. Most family law professionals favor joint custody because it is most often seen as the best interest of the child that both co-parents play an active role in raising the child. Shared child custody takes this to the next level. In order for shared child custody to be awarded both co-parents must be determined by the judge to be fit for parenting the child together. In most states, there are certain criteria that family court judges look to in order to determine if each co-parent is fit for the job. This could significantly affect your eligibility for shared child custody so please discuss with a family law professional in your area for more details on this matter.

The OurFamilyWizard website® can help with your shared child custody

In most shared child custody cases, a professional mediator will be present and will help to assist you and your co-parent in creating an effective parenting plan. This parenting plan will detail all of the provisions regarding your shared child custody agreement including a clear schedule of custody, how expenses will be split between you and your co-parent, and so on. The OurFamilyWizard website® is dedicated to providing co-parents with the tools and resources they need to easily manage their child support and custody agreements. For more information on how the OurFamilyWizard website® can help with managing your shared child custody, please visit the Child Custody and Divorced Parenting page for more information.