Joint custody is an option that allows both parents to share legal custody of their child.
This means they both have equal say in important life matters like their child’s religion, medical decisions, schooling decisions and more. Thus, it is an attractive option for many.
Benefits for parents and adults
Psychology Today talks about joint custody and how it works. It gives both parents more opportunities to interact with their child and get involved in their child’s life. This lets parents build the strong bonds needed to maintain a good relationship all throughout their child’s growing and adult years.
It can benefit children of divorce, too. Many studies comparing children who experience joint custody compared to children who experience sole custody show that children of joint custody have healthier coping mechanisms developed at a younger age. This also seems to lead to an increase in healthy relationships later in life, both of the romantic and platonic variety.
Is it best for everyone?
However, joint custody is not good for every family situation. If one parent currently faces allegations of abuse or neglect, they must go through their court case before any custody decisions are made. If one has a restraining order against them, they likewise should not have access to their child.
Parents living at a distance from their child may not be well-suited to joint custody, either. This includes incarcerated parents and parents who serve as active duty military or service members, who may be stationed in foreign countries at a moment’s notice.
It is possible to change custody arrangements over time, however. If joint custody does not work now but may work later, it is something to consider at that time.