Many children in Florida benefit from having two caring parents, even if those parents are no longer together. People may assume that joint custody means that the child will spend equal time with each parent and that each parent will share equal responsibility when it comes to raising the child. However, this is not necessarily the case. Joint child custody arrangements will depend on several factors including:
- Age, health and needs of the child
- Age, health and incomes of each parent
- Living arrangements/location of each parent
- Parental responsibilities prior to divorce
If the court orders a joint custody arrangement, having the child split their time evenly between the parents may not be the best choice for the child. Here are some possible joint custody schedules:
- 3-4-4-3 rotation: The child spends three days with Parent A and four days with Parent B, and the following week spends four days with Parent B and three days with Parent A.
- Alternating weeks (with visits during the week): The child spends one full week with Parent A and the next full week with Parent B. Parents may be allowed mid-week visits/overnights when the child is with the other parent.
- Extended weekends: The child spends Monday morning through Friday afternoon with Parent A and Friday afternoon through Monday morning with Parent B each week.
As for joint legal custody, or decision making, both parents will be required to consult with each other with regards to any major decisions involving the child. Day-to-day decisions and emergency decisions can be made by the parent the child is with at the time.
Joint custody arrangements require parents to work together with the best interests of the child in mind. Family law attorneys are trained to make sure that the child is protected at all times throughout the divorce process.