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Parenting after divorce: should you consider joint custody?

North Carolina parents know that divorce is often hardest on the youngest members of the family, which is why many parents choose to seek a custody arrangement that is sustainable and cooperative. Through a mutual concern for the well-being of the kids, parents may choose a joint custody arrangement. 

While joint custody is not an option for every family, it could be the right choice for yours. Parenting together after divorce is not an easy choice, but it may provide for a continuity of lifestyle and the ability to maintain strong relationships with both parents. If you think it could be right for you, you will find it beneficial to discuss this option with an experienced family law attorney.

What does joint custody mean?

Joint custody means that both parents will have regular access to the children, but that does not necessarily mean that parenting time will be a 50-50 even split. In fact, some joint custody arrangements provide one parent with decision-making authority while still allowing both parents to share custody and visitation. A joint custody agreement will address the following issues:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody refers to important decisions on behalf of the children. This includes educational preferences, health care decisions and more. One parent may retain legal custody, or both parents may share this responsibility.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the time that a parent will have physical access to his or her child. It also includes factors pertaining to holidays, vacation time, summer break, weekend visits and more.

The way that you and your ex-spouse should share joint custody will largely depend on the unique circumstances of your individual situation. Before you agree to the terms of a custody plan or make any decision that will have a long-term impact on your child, you would be wise to first discuss your options with an experienced family law attorney.

The best future for your family

A strong post-divorce future is possible for your family. Through a willingness to cooperate and a determination to provide strong parental relationships with both parents, a co-parenting plan could be the optimal choice for you, even if you and your child's other parent do not get along.

Matters pertaining to custody are complex, and it is not always easy to make a decision regarding what will happen to your kids. Fortunately, you do not have to deal with these complicated issues alone and can rely on the guidance of an experienced attorney to consider the benefits of a joint custody arrangement.

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The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, P.C.
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