Getting a divorce when there are children involved can be complicated. Many parents want their children with them as much as possible and are reluctant to share time with the other parent. However, research has shown that children typically benefit from the involvement of both parents in their lives, assuming both parents are mentally, physically, and financially able and willing to care for the children. A court may award joint legal custody with shared parenting time, if it is in the best interest of the children.
- Joint legal custody means that both parents will be involved in the decision-making process when it comes to making decisions about the child’s well-being. If you and your ex share joint legal custody, you both have the right to make decisions regarding various aspects of your children’s lives, including their health, education, religious beliefs, and extracurricular activities.
- Shared parenting time means that the children will spend a significant amount of time with each parent. There are several options available to parents who share parenting time. For example, under the 3-4-4-3 schedule, children will spend three days with the first parent and four days with the second parent, and then spend three days with the second parent and four days with the first parent. However, it is important to remember that sharing parenting time does not always mean that the children’s time will be evenly split between each parent. The court considers the child’s best interests when determining child custody, and therefore would prefer not to require a child to change homes every other day.
Joint legal custody with shared parenting time does not work for all California families, particularly if parents are unable to remain cordial and work together for the sake of the children. However, it is often the best possible option, as it allows each parent to play an active role in their children’s lives after the divorce. A family law attorney may be able to help work out an effective child custody arrangement for your family.