Shared or Joint Custody

There are two types of custody, legal and physical. In most instances, legal custody or the major decision making process and access to information is joint or shared. When people talk about shared or joint custody, they are usually referring to the physical schedule, i.e., where the child spends his or her time. The terms shared and joint are used interchangeably and mean that the child spends equal time in both parties’ homes. There are various schedules that could be construed in as a shared or joint custody schedule. Common schedules are week to week, rotating on the same day of the week, or two set week nights in one week and alternating the weekend as a Friday to Monday morning. These are not the only options, however, and parties need to look at their particular situation if they are attempting to come up with a joint schedule. It is important to look at maximizing the quality of time each parent has by considering work schedules of the parents and activities of the child as well as the distance between the two homes. As courts seem to be moving more towards a joint or shared custody schedule and away from one primary home, it is wise to explore all different possible scenarios for the best interest of the child.