A quintessential part of divorce is to determine the shared custody or separation of child responsibilities. And often, couples rely upon a lawyer to resolve disagreements when they cannot agree upon a collective decision. In most cases, the dispute center around separating their possessions or divide custody.
This article provides a comprehensive overview of the shared parenting time of divorced couples, its pros and cons, and other small details. Your first concern as a parent is to understand custody, which brings to the first topic.
According to family law, ‘custody’ refers to ‘decision-making.’ Having custody means the power of making a decision has been vested onto you. Suppose this custody is related to a child. In that case, the power to decide about the child’s education, health care, religious belief, involvement in extracurricular activities, immediate medical treatments, and other surrounding matters shall be decided by the parent in the custodial role.
Custody can be sole or joint. In sole custody, one parent bears the entire responsibility of making significant decisions. Meanwhile, in joint custody, both the parents get to have equal time with their parents, know the rules about child custody after divorce. In this case, focusing on child support gets more privilege than the decision-making part.
What is Shared Custody?
Shared custody or ‘shared physical custody is related to how much time the child gets to spend with each of his/her parents. In other words, both the parents have shared physical custody of their child. They also get the same amount of time despite living separately.
Mostly, in this case, the judge considers one parent as the primary custodian, and the other parent gets visitation rights based on a pre-planned schedule.
Legal parental rights may or may not be subjected here. But generally, if one parent has primary custody, the other parent provides the child support in important matters like – health care, education, religious beliefs, etc.
Shared custody is appropriate under the following conditions –
- If one parent travels frequently
- If one parent is financially insolvent
- If one parent is sick, injured, or having a physical disability that prevents him/her from properly caring for the child
Usually, in a custodial battle, the parents are focused on ‘winning’ the legal battle. But the bottom line is – the judge will decide the custodial decision based on the child’s preference. Parent’s wish gets second preference here, you may take guidelines from here.
What is Joint Custody?
Joint custody refers to custody, where both parents share all rights and responsibilities of the child equally. So, in this shared residential custody, both the parents will get the same amount of time with their child in their separate homes.
The way it works perfectly if both the parents agree on a rotating schedule. But if that discussion reaches an impasse, the judge decides how much time each parent will get.
Both the parents are equally involved in all the responsibilities of the child in this form of custody. So, the parents must be reasonable enough to be able to work together and agree upon sharing the responsibilities.
Joint shared custody and child support means you’ll need to co-operate with your partner about subject matters like – health care, education, religious overview, after-school activities like sports and music, and others.
Joint custody is feasible under the following conditions –
- Both parents live and work in the same area.
- The parents are reasonable and can coordinate together for the child’s welfare.
- The child is school-going or older.
Joint custody can be of two types –
Joint Physical Custody
Physical custody involves looking after the child and determining where and who the child will currently live with. Having physical custody means you can make simple everyday decisions.
Joint Legal Custody
Legal custody involves making long-term decisions for the child’s welfare. It concerns decisions like – education, health care, extracurricular activities, religious beliefs, etc.
It is reasonable to believe that parents asking for joint custody can work together while prioritizing their child’s well-being. Both parents will be able to exercise all of the above rights unless a change of circumstances takes place, still now you need more information regarding issues you may know more here.
Shared Custody vs. Joint Custody
Many people consider shared custody and joint custody as the same thing and even uses the terms interchangeably. It is essential to keep in mind that these are two different forms of custodial agreements.
The main difference between shared and joint custody lies in two matters – time spent with the child and share of responsibilities.
In joint custody, both the parents work together on a unified understanding of the major decisions and understand what is best for the child. So, both parents share all the major responsibilities like – education, religious views, health care, and other concerns.
On the other hand, shared custody focuses mostly on time spent with the child rather than sharing the responsibilities involved in the child’s upbringing. So, equal time is of utmost importance here. However, the responsibilities are also shared between the parents even though they are less focused in the agreement.
How to Calculate Child Support for Shared Custody?
The rules for calculating child support for shared custody is a little different than split or sole custody. In this case, each parent would need to contribute accordingly as if the other parent has the sole custody.
The Federal Guidelines have detailed guidelines on how to quantify all these factors.
- Step 1: Determining the adjusted actual income, i.e., the amount remaining after paying certain obligatory payments.
- Step 2: Combine the adjusted actual incomes of the two parents
- Step 3: Find out the percentage of the total adjusted income contributed by each parent. To do this, divide parent 1’s income by parent 2’s income and find the result percentage.
- Step 4: Consider the ‘basic support obligation.’ The basic support obligation is directly related to the cost of supporting the children.
- Step 5: Find out the amount that each parent owes to the other.
- Step 6: The parent owing the larger amount between the two would pay the difference between the two amounts to the other parent.
Choosing for shared custody for your child and making all the arrangements is an emotional process. Many factors need your supervision in order to determine whether shared custody is the right choice of custody for you.
Above all, in order for any custody to workout, both parents must work together to make it happen. So, make sure to keep a clear head and try communicating with each other because the happiness of your child is what matters the most here.