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Joint Custody Agreement

2 signers
1 Wife
2 Husband
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Agree on a Parenting Plan With This Joint Custody Agreement

Divorced and separated parents often utter these words, but there is no single definition that encompasses the meaning of the term. As such, it would be easier to define joint custody first. Joint custody is an order in which the custody of a child is awarded to both parents.
joint custody agreement template
As such, both parents are legally entitled to raise their children despite living in separate residences. While creating a parenting plan that includes child support payments and a visitation schedule may be a bit difficult to make, it is nonetheless a responsibility to make for the child to spend time with each parent.
In the United States, there are two types of joint custody: joint physical custody and joint legal custody. In the first one, the shelter and care of the children involved are shared according to a parenting schedule that is under a court order. In the case of joint legal custody, both parents share decision-making matters regarding the child, including his/her education, medical care, and religion, and have equal access to the child’s records.

Importance of having a child custody agreement

It is crucial to create the ideal joint custody model with your divorced or separated partner. Leaving important decisions such as the custody arrangement up to the family court may be difficult for the children. According to Psychology Today, children are on the receiving end of the trauma during these developmental years all in the name of “fairness”. Having a state-arranged 50/50 joint custody arrangement responsibility may be harmful to the child as it leaves out the emotional and best interests of a child may need that the court may overlook.

Common joint physical custody schedules

There is no one-size-fits-all for taking care of children’s well-being as families have unique needs. As such, there are common types of custody schedules.

It is important to find a routine that works for everyone, including the other parent’s work schedules, the ages of the kids and their schedules, extra activities, and distance considerations.

Having an agreed-on joint physical custody agreement eliminates the possibility of conflict during co-parenting. This list shall outline possible schedules for your family.

  • Alternating weeks – An alternating week’s schedule is where the child lives with one parent for a week, then move to other parent’s house next week.
  • Alternating weeks with a visit/overnight in the middle of the week – Similar to the first case, it involves alternating with the other parent’s home every week. However, it involves the child visiting or sleeping at the other parent’s house in the middle of the week.
  • 2-2-3 Rotation – This case involves the child living with one parent for two days, the other parent for the next two days, and the separated parents alternating the 3-day weekend.
  • 3-3-4-4 Rotation – This type of rotation involves spending the first three days with the first parent, three days with the second parent, then four days with the first parent, and another four days with the second parent.
  • 2-2-5-5 Rotation – The 2-2-5-5 rotation is similar to the 3-3-4-4 schedule. However, the child resides with one parent for two days, and the other parent for two days, followed by five days with the first parent and five days with the second parent.

Once the parents have decided on the custody schedule that works for them, it is crucial to test out the arrangement to see if it is actually feasible for all the people involved. It is also important to revisit the custody and visitation arrangement every year to see if it would still work for the family.

How to know if a joint custody agreement is working

A good joint custody agreement happens when:

  • Parents agree that the child is able to be at the forefront of this set-up
  • Parents are able to cooperate well and are able to make decisions with minimal conflict
  • Parents live fairly close to each other and having a joint custody agreement can work
  • Parents want to be involved in taking care of their children
  • Parents have no history of violence or child abuse

In general, children that have both parents present in raising them to do better in life. It is possible for parents to have a joint custody agreement, then the child will not have a difficult time. Many states have laws on their preference for joint physical custody, so it is important to look at your state custody guidelines to find out what your local court suggests.

Basic Child Custody and Visitation Schedules

The term custody is defined as the physical and legal custody of a child. To further understand the topic, the following will explain the main differences in basic custody arrangements.

Joint legal custody

In joint legal custody, parents are able to make major life decisions about the life of the child involved together.

Joint physical custody

In joint physical custody, the child lives with both parents for substantial amounts of time.

Sole legal custody

In sole legal custody, only one parent has the ability to make major life decisions about the life of his or her child.

Sole physical custody

In the case of sole physical custody, the child lives with only one parent. However, in most cases, the other parent still gets parenting time. It should be noted that parents can have either legal or physical custody, but it is also possible to have both.

FAQ Regarding Joint Custody Agreements

Shared custody means that both parents have the equal legal right to make big life decisions in the lives of their children. However, in joint custody, both parents do not necessarily have equal physical custody or time with their children.
There is no perfect arrangement for all families. There are several factors to be considered when making the perfect joint custody agreement, including work and school schedules, distance, and responsibilities outside the family. It is important to seek mental health counseling to see which would fit best for the family.

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