Many parents worry that a joint physical custody arrangement will be too disruptive to a child’s life. Shuttling between homes, getting used to the rules and people in two different households and creating a social life around the location shift can be difficult. However, if you and your ex-spouse agree to cooperate and manage the custodial arrangement well, joint physical custody can be beneficial to your children.
Benefits of a successful joint custody arrangement
Joint custody arrangements, both physical and legal, should be made with the intent of minimally disrupting a child’s life. Once a plan is in place, so long as both parents comply with the terms and work together to make transitions smooth, children may experience any or all of the following benefits:
- Increased likelihood of receiving full financial support from both parents
- Healthier relationships with both parents
- A greater sense of stability post-divorce than children who only remain with one parent
- Greater sense of integration into step-families, should one or both parents remarry
- Stronger psychological and social coping skills
Joint physical custody can also yield benefits for parents, so long as each of you respects the other’s personal and professional concerns. Agreeing to remain cordial for the sake of your children means that you don’t have to worry about getting into fights every time you see the other parent during days when you exchange custody. You are also more likely to receive any court-ordered child support without a fight if your ex still feels like a vital part of your children’s lives. Just make sure you retain an attorney with extensive child custody experience to help you draw up any joint physical custody agreement, and speak on behalf of you and your children’s best interests in court.