The typical standard for determining child custody is the best interests of the child. Depending on the parenting plan agreed to during your divorce, parents may share both physical and legal custody, or one parent may be granted both. Determination of custody can depend on several factors, including the age of the children, each parent’s involvement in their child’s life, the distance between parents, and many others.
Courts today tend to favor a joint custody arrangement, which can be either legal, physical, or both. Joint physical custody is where both parents share custody of the child, with the child splitting his or her time living with both parents. Joint legal custody is where both parents share decision-making power on things like education, healthcare, religion, etc.
Obviously no two family situations are the same, but generally speaking, these are the pros and cons of joint physical custody:
- Children get equal living time with both parents.
- Parents receive equal time with their children.
- New experiences and friends may be available to children whose parents live in different neighborhoods.
- Neither parent has to feel like a visitor in their child’s life.
- Switching homes every week can be burdensome and stressful for children.
- Children may have difficulty adjusting to different schedules when away from their “regular” home.
- Frustrations can add up when children leave something important at the other home and there is a lot of running back and forth.
More parents who share joint physical custody are trying “nesting” as a way to make it easier on their children to adjust to living with just one parent half the time. This is where the children stay in one home and the parents switch back and forth. If you find that splitting their time between two different locations is proving to be too much of a burden for your children, you may want to consider this type of arrangement.
By handling cases with the dignity and respect they deserve, we have helped many families in New Jersey civilly resolve their divorce, rebuild a satisfying life, and confidently step into the next chapter of their lives. Contact us today for your free consultation.