When parents separate or divorce, it can be particularly difficult for the youngest members of the family. Ohio parents work hard to minimize the negative impact that this time of transition can have on their children, and one of the ways to do this is to choose to work together on a parenting plan that allows the children to have strong relationships with both parents.
Joint custody is a type of custody arrangement that allows children to have regular time with both parents while still clearly outlining the responsibilities and rights of each parent. This can establish a sense of order and cooperation, and while joint custody offers many benefits, it is not always the best choice for every family.
The division of legal and physical custody
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all joint custody arrangement. Every family has the right to develop a parenting plan uniquely suited to their individual needs and the interests of their children. If you believe that joint custody may be the right choice for your family, your plan must address the division of both physical and legal custody. The differences between these things are as follows:
- Legal custody: Legal custody refers to decision-authority for the kids. This includes the right to determine issues regarding health care, education and more. One parent may retain this right or both parents may decide to share legal custody.
- Physical custody: This refers to the time that a child will physically be with the parent. A joint custody plan will address holiday visitation, summer schedules, weekend visitation and more. Parents can equitably share physical custody even while only one parent retains legal custody.
The right joint custody agreement for you and your children will depend on issues such as cooperation between you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, special needs of your children and more. No one knows your family like you do, and you have the right to draft an agreement outside of court.
A peaceful post-divorce future
Joint custody will not work for every family, but it may be the most appropriate choice to provide your children with a peaceful post-divorce future and stability during a difficult time of transition. Before you make any important decisions regarding custody and your divorce, you would be wise to first speak with a family law attorney.
Making decisions related to custody and visitation can be difficult, but you do not have to face it alone. With the right help, you may be able to lay the foundation for security and peace of mind for both you and your children long into the future.