Joint custody is a parental care arrangement that allows a child to live with each parent after the parents are separated or divorced. Most judges prefer the decision of joint custody arrangements as it serves a young one’s best interests.

For couples, ascertaining child custody is usually overwhelming. But it is possible to work through a difficult time with a better understanding of your rights and arrangements. Read on to learn about the common aspects of joint custody of a child.

Aspects of Joint Legal Custody

Physical Aspects
When a parent has the legal right to keep a child under his/her roof, he/she has physical custody of the child. The state will award shared physical custody if the parents have a history of cooperation and joint parenting and reside in geographic proximity to one another. A judge will also analyze the family’s overall circumstances to decide whether joint physical custody is right for the child. In case a parent has sole physical custody of a young one, the other parent will receive visitation rights or parenting time.

According to Washington’s child custody guidelines, a minimum visitation schedule necessitates that the parent without the sole physical custody gets at least one weeknight visit and visitation right every other weekend. Even if an abusive parent is involved, a judge will certainly award supervised visits until the child is believed to be safe in the parent’s care.

Legal Aspects
Legal custody involves significant decisions regarding the young one’s education, health, upbringing, and general welfare. The official decision-making authority can reside with one or both parents. Usually, the courts prefer to grant shared decision power to both parents as it is believed that both parents work together to make the best decisions for the child’s life. In case the court realizes that one parent is not fit to make the right decisions about the child, the legal custody is awarded to only one parent. Despite the legal custody arrangement, in case of an emergency, either parent may make decisions for a young one while the child is in his/her custody.

If there are challenging circumstances between the two parents and a child’s shared legal custody is getting impossible, one can go to court and request sole legal custody. For a modification of child custody, a parent must present a motion to change custody and a decree that elucidates the facts reinforcing the modification.

Contact Brian Walker Law Firm

Do you have more questions about child custody laws? Talk to Brian Walker Law Firm about protecting your rights and dealing with a child custody matter.