When exploring joint child custody solutions, there are many joint child custody options a couple can consider. First, California custody orders include both legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the decisions a parent makes about their child’s schooling, religious activities, and medical treatment. Physical custody refers to which parent the child resides with on a regular basis. Non-custodial parents often have visitation rights with his/her child.

Research has shown that joint child custody solutions result in less behavior and emotional problems for children. The amount of time a child spends with each parent is critical. Children who have healthy relationships with both of their parents have higher self-esteem and do better in school.

California courts encourage joint child custody solutions. Behavior from parents which interferes with another parent’s rights to his/her children is often frowned upon. Courts prefer regular contact with both parents. Judges work under the presumption that joint physical custody is in the child’s best interest. If a parent disagrees, he/she has to provide real proof about why joint child custody is not in the child’s best interest.

“Their staff was so helpful in providing creative ideas on how our custody arrangement could be set up and worded, and made it super easy to change our current order by preparing and filing everything with the court.” R. Langford
“A People’s Choice was so helpful in focusing on our custody plan in a completely different light. Just a simple change in a few words made such a difference in how we each viewed our parental roles.” R. Langford

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In regards to visitation, a 50/50 time split does not necessarily mean joint custody is not exercised between parents. For example, a 60/40 timeshare split can still reflect a reasonable joint child custody solution.

Tips on Joint Child Custody Solutions

The following are our top tips on joint child custody solutions:

  • Do What is in the Best Interest of Your Child. Deciding to divorce your spouse is a hard decision to make. Most people are so focused on their needs that they often forget about how the divorce is impacting their child. Deciding child custody is not about getting what you want. Focus on creating a great childhood. Parents must set aside their egos and do what is in the best interest of their child.
  • Be Honest About Schedule & Commitments. It is not uncommon for parents to ignore their schedules and commitments upon filing for divorce. Again, it is important for parents to remove their emotions from the situation and consider their child’s best interest. Be flexible when discussing visitation conditions and keep your commitments in mind. Consider a right of first refusal. This will allow either parent the opportunity to call each other in the event they need help caring for their child due to professional or private commitments.
  • Pick Your Battles. Co-parenting is not easy. There is no need to fight over every issue. Carefully pick your battles with your spouse. You can prevent conflicts with your ex by promoting open and honest communications. Be rational when disputing issues with your ex. Do not be quick to take an issue before a judge. Most parties are often dissatisfied with the judge’s ruling.
  • Make Adjustments as Needed. Again, be flexible in your joint child custody solution. Your child’s best interests will change over time as he/she ages. Make adjustments to your joint custody plan as needed.

Contact A People’s Choice for more information on how to prepare a joint custody plan in California. We can help you draft and file documents with the court to reflect the custody solution best suited for your child.

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