The Post-Divorce-Parenting Glossary

Divorced-Parenting Term

Shared custody



   Shared custody or joint custody is a custody arrangement whereby divorced or separated parents share and collaboratively exchange the responsibilities and rights for child rearing.   A family court judge will always base their decision for shared custody in a child custody case on whether or not it is in the best interest of the child. When both parents are found to be fit parents shared custody will be considered. Such issues as past violence, abuse, or neglect may prevent a family court judge from deciding on shared custody.
   When parents have a shared custody arrangement they both have legal custody and physical custody of the child. Physical custody determines with whom the child will reside and spend their time. In shared custody arrangements, a child may reside primarily with one parent, but spend time with the other parent. In a shared custody arrangement parents will agree regarding scheduling who will be in charge of the child’s activities, who the child will spend weekdays, weekends, holidays, summers, and other times, and where the child will reside. Legal custody determines who will be responsible for significant decisions regarding the child’s development. Both parents, in a shared custody arrangement have the right to make decisions regarding child’s education, day care, health care, extracurricular activities, emergency care, religion, and other important issues.
   The court may award child support payments to one parent in some shared custody cases. However, this is not always an aspect of shared custody cases. The court will order child support if, in the eyes of the court, it supports the best interests of the child. When shared custody arrangements or other circumstances change, adjustments in child support payments can be made. Often in shared custody cases, a mediator will provide assistance in developing a parenting plan as a neutral, third party. All of the provisions regarding child custody will be addressed in a parenting plan. When parents are not able to agree on a parenting plan through mediation a family court judge will decide the shared custody terms. The final authority over shared custody arrangements always resides with the family court judge. Both parents must have written and signed a parenting plan along with the judge before it is valid.
Divorce lawyer source - shared custody defined
Divorce lawyer source defines shared or joint custody as well as describes important aspects of it.


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