After their divorce trial is over, parents in Sacramento might find themselves in a situation where they are sharing joint custody of their child. This may present some challenges, especially if the divorce was less than amicable. The following are some tips on how to make joint custody work in a way that puts the child’s best interests first.
First, it is important to understand the difference between legal custody and physical custody. Sharing joint legal custody of a child means that the parents each have the right to make major life decisions regarding the child, such as where the child will go to school, the medical care the child receives and the religion the child will practice.
When parents share joint legal custody, it is important that any communication between them promotes the child’s well-being. Accepting the fact that your ex’s opinion regarding the child is valid is important. Keeping communications child-centric is critical. If face-to-face communication isn’t possible, parents can write emails or send text messages.
Sharing joint physical custody means that the child will live with one parent some of the time and with the other parent at other times. Holidays will also be split between each parent. For example, one parent might have the child on Memorial Day while the other parent has the child on Labor Day.
When parents share joint physical custody, it is important that they don’t use the child as a go-between when communicating one another. They also shouldn’t bad mouth the other parent. Making sure they are on time for child custody exchanges is also crucial. Important rules, such as curfews, homework and consequences for broken rules should be consistent between both households.
Ultimately, in any child custody situation the child’s best interests should come first. The best interests of the child is the legal standard the court will use when making child custody decisions, but that standard should continue to be followed by parents even after the divorce decree is signed. It is important that the child is well taken care of and that both parents have a meaningful relationship with their child. Family law attorneys in California understand the importance of custody decisions in a divorce and may be a useful resource.