New Jersey Info
New Jersey Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals New Jersey Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum New Jersey Products Divorce by County
New Jersey Articles
Agreements Attorney Relationship Custody & Visitation Child Support Collaborative Law Counseling Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Domestic Partnership Financial Planning Foreign Divorce Mediation Parenting Property Division Spousal Support
What is Joint Custody?
While seemingly a straightforward question, "what is joint custody?" is not as easy to explain as it seems. As a divorce mediator I define joint custody as "the separate but equal sharing of parental responsibilities for minor children from both a physical custody and legal custody perspective after a couples divorce." So when it comes to answering the question "what is joint custody" we must concern ourselves with two things: the physical custody and the legal custody as each one of these types of custody are necessary to discuss when developing a parenting plan.
What is Joint Custody Type #1: Physical Custody
As the name suggests, physical custody tells us which parent physically has the children at any given moment and typically is the main issue people think of when asking what is joint custody. For example, it's 9 o'clock in the evening on a random Tuesday - who is physically with the children at that moment in time. In a joint custody situation, that would indicate that each parent would have the children for an equal number of Tuesdays, Saturdays, holidays etc. in any given year or years.
Typical issues discussed when talking about physical custody include:
So in the case of joint custody from the physical perspective, that would indicate that the children would spend 50% of their time with each parent for any of the aforementioned events. The real question you both have to ask yourselves is does joint custody make sense in the physical sense? While yes there are some who feel that each parent should spend 50% of their time with the minor child, in some cases that may simply not be practical. Perhaps one party has a more demanding job than the other so in this case joint custody by the physical definition may not make sense. Or let's say the children are quite young and they are school aged. Would flip flopping them during the school week from Parent A to Parent B make sense? Maybe, maybe not.
The good news is there are other ways to get to a joint custody arrangement without shuttling the kids all over the place. That's where an experienced divorce mediator can help by providing you with sample parenting plans and worksheets to help you determine if joint custody or some other arrangement is practical in your particular situation. As I tell my clients - you know your children better than I do so I'm counting on each of you to do what's in their best interest, even thought it might not be in yours and you may not be seeing them as often as you'd like. We can use a combination of weekdays, weekends, holidays and summers to get as close to a joint custody arrangement as possible.
What is Joint Custody Type #2: Legal Custody
In the case of legal custody, this tells us who has the right to make legal decisions on behalf of the children such as who can move them out of state and who can change their names. If something were to happen to one of you, the other parent would immediately become the sole guardian and retain full custody of the children. In the case of legal custody, the going in supposition is that unless you say otherwise, you each have joint custody of the children so less time is typically spent on this in mediation than physical custody. So in effect the question of what is joint custody, is answered already in 99% of legal custody cases.
So as you can see the question of what is joint custody centers itself on two things: the physical custody and the legal custody of the minor children. By developing a parenting plan with your children in mind, you can determine if joint custody or some other form of custody is practical in your particular situation.
New Jersey is an equitable distribution state, meaning that the division of property in a divorce is to be done fairly, not necessarily equally. The court can take into consideration any factor it deems relevant when dividing property, but it must consider certain factors, such as how long the couple was married and the age and health of both spouses, the income or property brought to the marriage by each spouse, the standard of living that was achieved during the marriage, and the extent to which one spouse may have deferred career goals, among others.
Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
|Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00
"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"
|Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00
"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"
© 1996 - 2018 Divorce Source, Inc. All Rights Reserved.