Addressing Potential Problems With Joint Custody

You and your spouse are divorcing and have decided you want to share custody of your children. Be aware that there are two types of joint custody: legal and physical. Joint custody in both types can have some inherent problems that it's best to have your attorneys address in the divorce documents. That will protect both of you from issues that may develop in the future as you move on with your lives. 

About Legal & Physical Custody

When divorcing parents first begin considering shared custody, they typically focus on the schedule as to when the youngsters will live at each separate home. That's the shared physical custody aspect. Legal custody involves the two of you having an equal say in decisions about how you'll raise your children. 

Potential Problems in Joint Legal Custody

Right now, it may be hard to imagine that either of you would ever have a dramatic change of mind regarding how to raise your children. However, people do evolve and grow, which can lead to different ideas about aspects such as education, religion, and teenage romance.

For example, if you are adamant about your children being raised in a certain religion, this agreement should be set forth in your legal documents. If your ex ever decides to make a radical change in religion, your children will still be raised as you originally agreed. 

Potential Problems in Joint Physical Custody

For equally shared physical custody, you and your ex must live close enough to each other that the children can go to the same school all week without travel time being too much of an issue. Because this isn't feasible for many parents, they may instead decide to set up a shared custody arrangement that isn't 50-50. 

The two of you will want to have your lawyers document with the court any shared physical custody arrangement you make. This provides substantial protection against one parent moving out of the area and attempting to move the kids along, or one parent attempting to change a child's school district. 

What Can You Do Now?

Consult a divorce lawyer like Hart Law Offices, PC about any concerns you have regarding joint legal and physical custody. This attorney will know the relevant laws in your state and can help you, along with your spouse and his or her lawyer, draft an agreement to file with the court. You'll have peace of mind knowing this legal arrangement is in place.