What Is Joint Custody?
The end of a marriage becomes that much more complicated when one or several children are involved. If you are like most parents, you want full or joint custody of your offspring. The Setzer Law Firm is here to break down the subtleties of child custody in plain terms clients can understand without a Doctor of Jurisprudence.
The Basics of Joint Custody
Joint custody is exactly as it sounds in that it provides both parents with custody of one or several babies, adolescents, tweens, or teens. In contrast, sole custody of a child provides one parent with full custody of the offspring. If you seek joint custody, meet with one of our Dallas child custody attorneys, and we’ll review your unique situation to develop the optimal legal strategy. We also help divorcees seek and obtain sole child custody.
Joint custody is often mutually beneficial for divorced parents and kids as it provides each parent with an opportunity to spend time with their offspring. However, there is a challenge in the logistics of joint custody. You need an experienced child custody attorney on your side to reach a matrimonial settlement agreement that establishes the optimal dates and times for child visitation.
The Two Types of Joint Custody: Physical and Legal
There are two variations of joint custody: joint physical custody and joint legal custody. In general, when people use the term “joint custody,” they are referring to both types of custody. However, there is the potential for the judge to decide joint custody is to be of the physical or legal variety.
Joint physical custody addresses the specific home the child, tween, or teen will reside at with regularity. Parents who share their child’s legal custody can also share physical custody. However, one of the parents is formally named as the main custodial figure. Physical custody of the child is synonymous with the child’s primary residence.
Joint Legal Custody
In contrast, legal custody is the right of the parent to make essential decisions concerning the offspring’s upbringing in regard to but not limited to the following:
- Medical care
- Attending religious institutions
If joint legal custody is established, both parents have the legal right to shape their child’s future in terms of making major decisions pertaining to the elements noted above. Such an arrangement requires that the ex-spouses interact with one another regarding the significant life decisions that impact the offspring. Such decisions extend all the way to:
- Health matters
- School choice
- After-school activities
- Social activities
It is the subtleties of the matrimonial settlement agreement or parenting plan that determine which decisions are made jointly and individually. As an example, some parenting plans detail how a specific parent is empowered to select the child’s academic institution while the other parent is empowered to decide the child’s participation in social activities such as after-school sports. However, there is also the potential for matrimonial settlement agreements to designate specific decisions pertaining to the child that require input from both parents.
Emergency Decisions in the Context of Joint Custody
All-encompassing joint custody empowers both parents to make decisions in the context of health emergencies and other emergencies concerning the child. The logic in empowering both parents to make important decisions is that such a sharing of agency is in the best interest of the child. Emergency decisions concerning offspring can be made without discussing the matter with the other parent.
Is Joint Custody Right for You and Your Family?
Joint legal custody is optimal for parents who are civil with one another, meaning they are willing to interact in a peaceful manner for the benefit of the child. Parents willing to keep the lines of communication open with one another should give serious consideration to seeking joint custody. However, if opposing counsel successfully argues that you or the other parent is unreliable, joint legal custody might not be permitted.
Our divorce attorneys near Dallas are here to help you determine which type of custody is ideal for you and your children. We will fiercely advocate on your behalf to secure your desired child custody arrangement.
Schedule a Consultation With the Setzer Law Firm
Are you considering divorce? Perhaps you have already decided to end your marriage. The Setzer Law Firm in Colleyville is here to help those who are on the cusp of divorce as well as those in custody battles. Reach out to us today at 817-424-5050 to schedule a consultation where our child custody attorneys will delve deeper into the legal strategies for obtaining child custody.