Child Custody

What Are The Advantages (And Disadvantages) Of Joint Custody?

Last updated on September 18, 2023

When couples with children decide to end their relationship, one of the most crucial decisions they face is determining child custody arrangements. Joint custody has become an increasingly popular option, emphasizing shared responsibility and involvement of both parents in their children’s lives. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of joint custody, shedding light on its potential benefits for children as well as the challenges it may present for parents. By examining various perspectives, we aim to provide a comprehensive understanding of the implications and considerations associated with this custody arrangement.

A skilled attorney can provide valuable guidance, helping parents understand the intricacies of joint custody and the legal requirements involved. They can help ensure that parents are aware of their rights, responsibilities, and the factors that can be used against them in a custody battle. At New York Family Law Group, our Manhattan child custody attorneys may be able to mediate between parties, reducing conflict and facilitating effective communication to promote the best interests of the children involved. Our team may be able to help parents navigate the legal process smoothly and advocate for a fair and balanced joint custody arrangement. Contact us today at (347) 212-5113 to schedule a consultation.

Explaining Joint Legal Vs. Physical Custody 

First, it’s important to distinguish joint legal custody from joint physical custody. 

  • Joint legal custody – This means that both parents share equal responsibilities for making decisions about childcare, schooling, religion, and other such life decisions.
  • Joint physical custody – This refers to a child spending equal or nearly equal time residing with both parents – for example, spending 4 nights with one parent, and 3 nights with another. 

Joint legal custody and joint physical custody are awarded separately. For example, it’s entirely possible for one spouse to have sole physical custody, but for both spouses to share joint legal custody. 

The Advantages Of Joint Custody

Joint custody has some obvious benefits, which is why New York courts often seek joint custody arrangements between divorcing parents, when possible. 

  • Both parents maintain a role in the child’s upbringing – Both parents spend the same amount of time with their child, and in the case of joint legal custody, they make decisions about the child’s life together.
  • The child enjoys a more stable environment – When it works out well, a joint custody arrangement provides a more stable, peaceful living environment for the child.
  • Splits up responsibility more equally – Because both parents are sharing the responsibilities, work, and expenses of childcare equally, this makes things easier for both parties.
Advantages of Joint Custody Disadvantages of Joint Custody
Both parents maintain a role in the child’s upbringing Scheduling and planning can be difficult
The child enjoys a more stable environment Arguments and conflicts often arise
Splits up responsibility more equally Kids have to move between homes frequently

The Disadvantages Of Joint Custody

Joint custody has some drawbacks, too. Here are a few reasons that joint custody arrangements don’t always work out. 

  • Scheduling and planning can be difficult – When both parents share equal parenting time, a lot more coordination is necessary for transporting the child, planning pick-ups and drop-offs, and other such tasks. This can be very difficult for some parents, especially if they don’t get along.
  • Arguments and conflicts often arise – If the parents have a contentious relationship, joint custody can actually make arguments and conflicts worse, since both parents have equal rights over the child. Kids also may be put in the middle of these arguments, which is not good for them.
  • Kids have to move between homes frequently – Some children may have a hard time moving between two homes, since they may have to move personal possessions like school documents, sports gear, and other things each time they move between their parent’s homes.

Creating A Plan For Parenting Time

If you plan on seeking joint custody, one of the best things you can do is sit down with your spouse and work out a plan for parenting time. This plan will outline the time each spouse will spend with the child, who is responsible for transportation costs, how decisions will be made regarding the child, and other important information. 

What Other Options Are There?

If you do not share joint custody of your children with your ex-spouse, one parent or the other will be awarded full legal and/or physical custody of the children, based on the determination of the court. 

The specifics will vary depending on the court’s determination. However, the non-custodial parent will still have rights to see and parent their kids, usually including overnight visits.

Manhattan child custody attorney

How New York Courts Determine Custody

When determining legal and physical custody, the court might consider both the current arrangement and how it works. Additionally, they may take into account additional issues like each parent’s living situation, child’s wishes, ability to care for and support the child and provide emotional and intellectual support. They also look at each parent’s involvement in the child’s life to date and whether there have been any abuses. The court may also appoint an “Attorney of the Child” who will interview the child to determine what is best for them.

It is often difficult to amend agreements or judgments after legal and physical custody has been established. However, it is possible to modify such agreements or judgments if there are significant changes in the circumstances. Custody arrangements can have an impact on child support payments. The custodial parent may have the right to financial support to assist with child care. New York law establishes a formula that determines child support.

When Can A Child Decide With Which Parent He Or She Wants To Live?

Here are two things to remember about your child’s preferences: 

The court does not set a specific age when it will begin to consider the child’s preferences. While the court will usually give more weight to the child’s preferences the older they become, there is no threshold or cut-off when the court will start considering a child’s preferences.

While the child’s preferences might be an important consideration in a court decision, they are only one of many factors that a NY court will consider to determine what is in the child’s best interest.

NY does not have a specific age where a child can decide which parent they will live with. The child’s preference is only one factor that courts in New York will take into consideration when determining custody. However, courts in New York can only decide on the custody of a child until they are 18 years old.

The Impact Of Relocation On Joint Custody Arrangements

Relocation can have a significant impact on joint custody arrangements, and the laws regarding this vary from state to state. In the case of New York, there is no specific distance set that determines whether a parent can move with their child. Instead, family court judges assess custody orders and relocations on an individual basis, always prioritizing the best interests of the child. The court also takes into account any disruptions to visitation schedules when making decisions.

It is possible to include relocation provisions in divorce agreements or custody arrangements. A judge may impose restrictions on both parents, requiring them to stay within a designated geographical area, such as a specific borough or New York City. Alternatively, the parents can come to a mutual agreement on these limitations. If the custody order does not address relocation, the custodial parent can request permission from the court.

To increase the likelihood of obtaining court approval, it is advisable to inform the other parent about your intention to relocate with the child and work together to address visitation and new parenting time arrangements. Maintaining a cooperative relationship with your co-parent is crucial when sharing custody. When considering relocation requests, the court takes various factors into consideration, including:

  • The reasons provided by each parent for or against the relocation.
  • The impact of the move on the child’s ability to maintain communication with the non-custodial parent, relatives, and other established relationships.
  • The effect of the relocation on the child’s overall well-being and quality of life.
  • The quality of the child’s relationship with both parents.
  • The feasibility of sustaining a strong relationship between the child and the non-custodial parent through visitation arrangements.
  • The child’s preference, if they are deemed mature enough to express an opinion.
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate in co-parenting their child.

Need Help? Contact A Divorce Lawyer At New York Family Law Group

At New York Family Law Group, we specialize in helping parents come up with mutually agreeable solutions for child custody. Our goal is to put your children first and break the cycle of divorce.

So don’t wait. Contact us online to schedule an appointment or call (347) 212-5113, and get the assistance you need as you come up with a joint parenting plan.



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