Divorce is often most difficult for the young children in the family. California parents know that their kids will have to deal with the ramifications of the end of their marriage, but there are ways that they can minimize the negative impact of this decision. In some cases, parents may be able to resolve to work together to parent their children jointly.

Joint custody is often a beneficial choice for families who wish to allow their children to have a strong relationship with both parents long after the divorce process is final. Children benefit when they can still have regular access to both parents, and joint custody could be what is best for you and your kids. Before you make any important decisions regarding your family’s post-divorce future, you would be wise to carefully consider all options.

What constitutes joint custody?

Joint custody is a custody plan that allows both parents to be present in the lives of their kids. While both parents will have access to the kids, it does not necessarily guarantee that the parents will have exactly equal parenting time. There are two major factors to consider in a joint custody plan:

  • Legal custody: Legal custody is the right that a parent has to make important decisions on behalf of his or her children. This includes education decisions, religious upbringing and more.
  • Physical custody: Physical custody refers to the actual amount of time that a parent will have with his or her kids. This includes summer vacation, holiday visitation and more.

There are true joint custody agreements in which both parents share both legal custody and physical custody. However, that may not work best for you. In your situation, it may be best for one parent to retain legal custody while still sharing physical custody. Your family is unique, and it is possible for you to create a custody agreement that meets your unique objectives and goals.

The right future for your family

Your family is the most important thing in your life, and the decisions that you make during your divorce will affect you and your kids for years to come. Instead of allowing temporary emotions to drive your decision-making, it is prudent to carefully consider all of the options available to you.

If joint custody is the right choice for your family, you would benefit from seeking help as you work through what this will look like specifically for you and your children.