What Are the Differences Between Shared Custody and Joint Custody?

An adult holding their child's handThere are several ways that child custody can be arranged in a divorce. When both parents want to be actively involved in the child’s life, shared custody and joint custody will be considered. They may sound like the same thing, but there are some important differences to be aware of. Be sure to work with an experienced divorce lawyer in Jacksonville to help you determine the best arrangement for you and your child.

What is Shared Custody?

In shared custody, both parents have shared legal physical rights to their child. Both parents receive approximately the same amount of time caring for the child in their separate homes. Generally, this works out best when both parents agree to a set schedule. If that’s not attainable, the judge will determine which parent has primary custody. He may also arrange a set visitation schedule.

Legal parental rights may or may not be shared in this type of custody arrangement. If they are not shared, important decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education and/or religion may be left to one of the parents. When they are shared, both parents must work together for the best interest of the child. Speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in Jacksonville to learn more about the specific details to consider with shared custody.

Shared custody may be appropriate when:

  • One of the parents travels often.
  • One of the parents is financially unstable.
  • One of the parents is sick, injured or has other circumstances that prevent him/her for caring for the child properly.

What is Joint Custody?

With joint custody, physical rights are shared and are fairly equal. Both parents spend equal amounts of time in their own homes with the child. A rotating schedule is typically worked out and agreed upon between both parents. If they can’t agree upon a schedule, the judge will determine how much time each parent has the child.

In joint custody, both of the parents are highly involved and equally share responsibilities. For this reason, the parents must be capable of working together to agree on decisions about the child’s upbringing. This includes making joint decisions on the child’s health care, education and religion. They must cooperate to put the child’s best interests first.

Joint custody may be appropriate when:

  • Both of the parents live and work in the same area.
  • The parents are amicable and can work together.
  • The child is school aged or older.

Speak with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Jacksonville

Deciding on child custody arrangements can be a difficult and emotional process. There are many factors to consider when determining whether shared or joint custody is right for your child and your situation.

The divorce lawyers at Parker & DuFresne have decades of experience in family law. We know that each and every situation is unique, and we always look out for the best interests of you and your child. Call us today to meet with one of our compassionate divorce attorneys. Call (904) 733-7766.

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