When is Joint Custody Appropriate?

July 31, 2018 Posted in Child Custody

When parents separate or divorce, it becomes necessary to make a custody decision so that it is clear where a child will spend time, which parent will be responsible for providing care, and which parent will have the legal authority to make important decisions on a child's behalf.

There are many different possible custody arrangements depending upon the family's circumstances and the needs of a child. A Dallas child custody attorney can provide help to parents understanding custody rules and making informed choices about the type of custody arrangement that will work best for their needs.

An attorney can also help parents to understand how the laws on child custody work in the state of Texas.  For example, one key issue that an attorney can assist parents in understanding is when joint custody is appropriate.

When is Joint Custody Appropriate?

Joint custody is a common type of custody arrangement in which both parents have shared custody of a child. It is an alternative to a primary custody arrangement in which one parent takes care of the child for the majority of the time and the other has limited visitation at designated times. Joint custody is also an alternative to a sole custody arrangement in which only one parent cares for the child and the other parent has restricted or no contact.

Parents can agree together that a joint custody arrangement is appropriate for their families. In fact, parents are encouraged to try to negotiate on the issue of custody outside of court rather than to have a judge determine what is best. Parents are encouraged to work out a parenting plan for sharing time with children because they know their family dynamic best and can determine whether joint custody or some other type of arrangement will allow them to meet their child's needs in the most effective way possible.

Mediators or collaborative divorce coaches can provide assistance to parents who face difficulty working out custody issues on their own outside of court. When each parent is represented by an attorney, this can also help to improve the chances that the couple will come to an agreement on custody.

If parents do not decide on an appropriate custody plan because they are unable to agree, the court will determine whether joint custody is appropriate or whether to order a different type of custody arrangement. The court makes a decision on the custody plan for families based on what is in the best interests of the child. Each parent is provided with the opportunity to present evidence in court arguing for his or her preferred custody plan and the judge will evaluate the information to consider a number of factors designed to determine what is in a child's best interests.

Because it is believed children benefit from being able to continue to build relationships with both parents, often this will mean the judge decides that joint custody is appropriate if both parents want to be involved in raising the child and are able to provide a stable home environment.

A Dallas child custody attorney can provide help to parents who are going through a divorce and who are considering joint custody or any other custody plan.