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What is joint custody and how can I obtain it for my family?

Divorce is a time of significant change, especially for families in New York and elsewhere. Many parents wonder what this change in family life will mean for the relationship between parent and child. Custody arrangements are necessary to be made in these matters, and it is important to begin these conversations with your spouse as soon as possible. If both parents are fit and able to be parents, joint custody is a great option for a family's child custody arrangement.

Joint custody is a child custody arrangement that is essentially a split-custody arrangement. Ideally, parents share both legal and physical custody of the child. Legal custody allows a parent to make important decision about a child's life such as health, education, religion and the like. Physical custody means the parent has physical care of the child for the duration of time outlined in the custody arrangements, ideally split 50-50 between the parents.

Joint custody is a great arrangement since parents share equal, or near equal, time and decision making ability of the child. This will hopefully lessen the negative impact the loss of one parent sometimes has on a divorced child.

If deemed fit to parent, both parents should ideally be heavily involved in the child's life when a joint custody arrangement is entered into. A change in events such as the dissolution of marriage does not mean that the parent child relationship needs to suffer.

If discussed, joint custody can be arranged and mediated in a way that is as stress-free as possible. New York families seeking a drama-free child custody arrangement should explore the option of joint custody. Of course, if this isn't the right fit for you and your family, there are other custody options that may be more appropriate. Regardless of your family situation, there is a child custody arrangement that can best fit the family's needs.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Joint Custody," Accessed Nov. 16, 2015

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