Joint custody can mean sharing hands-on parenting time with the child roughly equally between parents. It can also mean sharing the authority to make major decisions about the child. In family law, parents can share time, decision-making authority or both.
No two custody cases are alike. This means there’s no one specific way that joint custody works. Instead, the court looks at the entire situation in order to iron out the details for your joint custody arrangement. In most cases, if the parents are able to agree on a joint custody plan, the court goes along with the plan.
Sometimes, the parents share custody on a week-on and week-off basis. In other cases, each parent has certain days of the week. Joint custody is less common when parents live in other cities, but parents might still exercise joint custody by having one parent exercise school holidays while the other parent has the bulk of the school year.
In family law, making joint custody work means looking at the situation as a business arrangement. Parents can make a parenting time agreement as specific as they think it needs to be. You can address anything that you think may be an issue. You might want to talk about transporting the child, choosing schools and who pays for extracurricular activities. You may need to address communication between the parents and exchanging information so that both parents know about school events, medical needs and changes in the child’s life.
Parents can return to the court in order to make minor changes to a joint custody arrangement. Parents can also agree to make these changes themselves. Making major changes to a custody situation is more difficult, but parents can still go back and ask the court for these changes when big things happen that can impact a child. If you’re facing a divorce or other family law matter, please contact the Jackson Law Firm for a discussion of your case.
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