Understanding Joint Custody
Both parents have equal rights to — and responsibilities for — their child. A joint custody arrangement means that together, they share legal custody and physical custody of their child. When couples divorce and the resulting arrangement is joint custody of their child, they will both provide the child’s physical basics, including:
- A safe, nurturing home environment
- Loving care
Parents will share the responsibility of making important legal decisions such as:
- Where the child will go to school
- Who will provide medical care
- What type of medical care is necessary
- Religious training
- School activities
When parents have joint custody of their child, the child will likely live in two homes, living part of the time with one parent and then the other.
Joint Custody Fosters Frequent And Continuing Contact With Both Parents
Joint custody can be in the best interest of the child for remaining in contact with both parents. However, a joint custody arrangement does not mean both parents will raise the child the same way in each household. Disagreements may arise surrounding dental care, medical needs, religious affiliations or extracurricular education activities. The core requirement is that the joint custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.
In Pennsylvania, when you and your child’s other parent agree to joint custody arrangements and neither of you feel there is a risk of the other parent keeping you from a healthy relationship with your child, it may not be necessary to get a formal court order in place to continue raising your child. It is when serious disagreements or allegations of one parent being an unsuitable parent arise that other child custody arrangements would serve the best interest of your child.
Determining whether one parent is unsuitable cannot be based on mere disagreements. There must be solid evidence that the child’s well-being and safety are at risk for a parent to be deemed unsuitable.
In any case, working collaboratively with the other parent can yield the most positive results in the long term for your child. At Law Offices of Catherine Cardozo, LLC, I provide comprehensive legal services that can resolve your dispute with negotiation, mediation and collaboration. Your family’s needs are unlike any other family. Resolving your disputes surrounding custody and visitation issues does not have to become a thorn in your side or a financial drain. As a lawyer, I have dedicated my career to finding long-term resolutions for families outside of the courtroom.