The end of a marriage represents significant changes for every member of the family. One of your main goals for your divorce may be to take steps to minimize the potential damage your divorce could have on the mental and emotional well-being of your children. A practical way to accomplish this goal in many North Carolina families is by adopting a joint custody arrangement. While there are many benefits to joint custody, it may not always be the best choice in every situation.
As with any choice that involves your children, it is in your interests to think carefully about the implications of this decision. Before you move forward, you may want to seek an understanding of both the potential benefits and drawbacks to this decision. The ultimate goal in any custody decision is to protect the well-being and long-term stability of the kids above all else.
Physical and legal custody
The implication in a joint custody arrangement is that the parents will share their children equally. While this may be the case in some situations, it is not always possible to have exactly equal parenting time. Instead, it may be helpful to aim for equitable parenting time in an arrangement that makes the most sense in your individual situation. Additionally, any joint custody arrangement will need to address the two main type of custody:
- Physical custody – This refers to the amount of time a parent will have with his or her child, including weekend visitation, vacation, holidays and more.
- Legal custody – This refers to the right that a parent has to make critical decisions on behalf of his or her child, including those pertaining to education, religious training, medical care and more.
Your joint custody arrangement should carefully outline how you will share both physical and legal custody. In many joint custody arrangements, parents share these relatively equally, but that is not always the case. The right approach will depend on the details of your individual situation.
Your ideal custody arrangement
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to child custody after a divorce. You would be wise to focus on what is best for your family and how you can approach this decision in a way that will provide your children with security and regular access to both parents. Protecting your kids may mean setting aside your own temporary feelings and focusing on their needs above all else.