What Is Joint Custody?
After, and sometimes before, the divorce is finalized, there will be a decision about who has custody of the child. In the best circumstance for the child, joint custody will be awarded. This means that the child will spend time with both parents. At times, the parents can work out these details themselves without any interference from the court. However, if the parents can’t decide on times that work for them and the child, then an attorney can go before the judge to discuss what would best suit the client and what would be in the best interest of the child because of school, sports, and other activities.
There are sometimes two forms of joint custody. One is physical. This means that time spent with the child is shared. The other is joint legal custody. All of the legal decisions about the child are shared by both parents. Most of the time, both physical and legal are awarded in a joint decision. When both parents truly share the custody of the child, it means that they will make decisions about school, doctor’s visits, holidays and other situations that the child faces in life. The child will spend equal parts of time during the week and month with each parent. At times, this agreement can become a bit stressful for the parents and the child as there is so much going back and forth between two homes and two families. However, it’s important for the child to know both parents, especially at a young age.
Joint legal custody is a bit different. It’s usually more common than true physical joint custody. The parents will share the legal decisions of the child, but the child will usually live with one parent most of the time while visiting the other parent on a regular basis instead of living in both homes as physical custody will be given to one parent. Usually, this is the parent who doesn’t work as many hours or who has more flexibility during the day in order to care for the child. An attorney can discuss the situation with the client to gather information about where the child spends the most time already and how the child interacts with each environment.
Joint Custody Laws
There are a few joint custody laws in Queens that you should be aware of that an attorney can often assist with before going to court. One of the things to keep in mind is that there isn’t a law set in place that requires a court to automatically award joint custody to parents. Braiman v. Braiman did establish that joint custody is encouraged in court when the parents are stable, can get along well with each other and that the decision is voluntary instead of full custody. If joint custody is awarded to parents who do not communicate well with each other, then it could result in more issues between the parents. Any parent, grandparent or legal guardian of the child can file for joint custody. An attorney can begin to build a case for the benefit of the child so that the child thrives in the proper environment.