By John Alberts
Here at Bedlam Law we focus primarily on divorce, child custody and estate planning cases. In divorce and child custody cases I have seen a trend take place over the last several years. More parents are considering joint custody as an option. This article shares some basic information regarding joint custody.
I should start by saying joint custody does not determine the visitation schedule in your case. A common misconception is if you have joint custody you will receive equal time with your child, but this is not necessarily true.
Time with your child is typically addressed in the visitation section of the Decree of Divorce or Decree Establishing Paternity. Just to be clear, if your ultimate goal is equal time this does not mean you have to have joint custody.
Joint custody is considered to be a sharing of the duties and responsibilities for your child regarding their physical care, legal care, custody and decision-making control. To put it simply, parents with a joint custody plan are expected to work together regarding any major decision concerning the care of their child and providing for the child’s best interest.
The cornerstones of most appellant cases regarding joint custody is the ability of the parents to cooperate and work together for the benefit of the child.
If joint custody is ordered by the court a Joint Custody Plan must be executed by the judge in your case. This plan includes the details of the joint custody agreement in your case and the rules for both parties must follow.
Typical topics included in the plans drafted by our office include, but are not limited to, medical issues, dental issues, schools, camps, fashion, discipline, travel and religion. Please understand not all joint custody plans are the same. Each plan can be modified to fit your case and will be determined based upon your particular circumstances.
Joint custody is a great way to help ensure both parents remain involved in their child’s life after divorce. However, joint custody is not effective unless both parents are committed to working together for the benefit of their child.
There is no bigger problem than when a joint custody plan is ordered and one parent does all of the work while the other parent fails to reciprocate. That is not the purpose of joint custody and ultimately a recipe for disaster. Joint custody should be determined on a case by case basis. The facts of each case are unique and should be discussed with an attorney.
The information presented in this article is not legal advice and is subject to interpretation by your attorney and ultimately the judge in your case. If you have questions, please consult your attorney or give us a call at Bedlam Law.
We serve the central Oklahoma area and are here to answer and questions you may have. Our office is located in Yukon, OK, and we can be reached by calling 405-232-2444.