Joint Child Custody Pros And Cons
During a divorce, splitting assets is often a herculean challenge. But when it comes to determining child custody rights, the level of emotion and conflict often reaches a whole new level. Joint child custody is the preferred option in most states, and sole custody is rarely granted without serious extenuating circumstances.
Many divorce courts (and lawyers too) believe that joint custody provides the best of a bad situation, allowing the child to at least have the presence of both parents in their lives as they grow up. But is joint child custody always the right choice?
Pros Of Joint Child Custody
There are several real, tangible benefits to joint custody for both parents and children, including:
1) Children are able to grow up with the presence and influence of both parents. When parents share custody, they are both able to make legal decisions for their children. Parents with joint physical custody also have legal rights to have their children live with them.
2) The children are common ground between spouses. By sharing custody, both spouses must work together towards their children’s best interest. This often encourages friendlier and more cordial behaviour between ex spouses, which is a better environment for the kids (and likely the parents too).
3)Shared custody spreads the responsibility between both parents instead of just one. Raising a child solo is often incredibly challenging. Having both spouses involved can relieve stress and pressure on both parents.
Cons Of Joint Child Custody
Joint child custody is not without its drawbacks, and a lot depends on how well spouses get along with each other after their divorce. Some things to consider:
1) There can be stress from moving between homes. Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or some other arrangement, constantly moving back and forth between each spouse’s home can make adjusting difficult for children and contribute a sense of instability.
2) Sharing custody can exacerbate spousal conflicts. While some ex spouses are able to make the best out of the situation, for others it can have the exact opposite effect. Joint custody can lead to frequent arguments and rifts over decisions large and small.
3) Either spouse may evade or ignore important responsibilities. While there is often the expectation that joint child custody equates to an equal share of effort and responsibility from each spouse, this is not always the case.
Making The Right Decision
In theory, having both parents is very beneficial for a child. In reality, if the parents are not able to work together in a cooperative and friendly manner, joint child custody may be harmful to children in the long run.
Joint child custody is not one size fits all. Children will benefit from joint custody if both parents are willing to put aside their differences.
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