Join custody is the form of custody where the two parents, despite being separated, share the responsibilities of the child. The parents occupy different premises but still decide issues regarding the child, together. Join custody comes in various arrangements. These arrangements are pre-planned and need to be presented in front of the court so that they can be certified and officiated. This means that the court now requires the couple to follow the terms of the arrangement.
These arrangements are based on various factors including the child's choice, the practicality and feasibility for the family, work and time schedules of the parents and distance between the child and the parents themselves. Often if the parents are in relatively close distance to each other they alternate in keeping the child with them in their separate homes, however, if the distance is large, it often becomes impractical to alternate between them. In this case, it is quite common for parents to agree to an arrangement where the child predominately stays with one parent and visits the other sparingly, the most common being once a month.
As with most arrangements, joint custody arrangements have their own advantages and disadvantages. The advantages include the fact that the child is able to keep in contact with both of his parents. This can be very beneficial for the psychological needs of the child as he can receive love from both his parents and not be subjected to feelings of confusion and abandonment. Joint custody also leads to less conflict as the parents feel that they are sharing the burden and this reduced conflict protects the child and prevents the parents from being overwhelmed. This means that both parents can focus on the child's welfare. The disadvantages include the fact that the child is often in a state of limbo, constantly going back and forth between the parents’ houses and can feel alienated and confused. In addition, often it becomes very hard for parents to maintain two homes for the child's need. The parents are not living together which inevitably results in some lack of communication on their part regarding the child's decisions. This can be a cause of tension and conflict for the child and the parents.
Child custody cases can be very complicated and confusing. Therefore, if you are in the process of divorce or separation, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced attorney near you, to protect your rights of custody.