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Joint Child Custody


During divorce, joint child custody may be negotiated by the parents or ordered by the divorce court. With joint custody, the parents share legal custody, physical custody or both. Depending on divorce laws in your state, joint custody may be what's in the best interest of the child.

  • Physical Child Custody

    When the child is with a parent, that parent makes reasonable day-to-day decisions on the care and well-being of the child. Joint physical custody doesn't mean each parent has equal time with the child, but both parents spend a reasonable amount of time and cost raising the child.
  • Legal Child Custody

    Each parent has the right and responsibility to make legal decisions for the child, but whenever possible, parents with joint legal custody should work together to make decisions about education, religion and medical treatment.

Joint Child Custody Across States

Parents who live in different cities or states with interstate child custody may not be able to share joint physical custody. If parents don't have joint physical custody, it's still possible to have joint legal custody. When joint physical custody isn't possible, one parent has sole physical custody and the noncustodial parent is generally awarded visitation with the child.

Joint Child Custody and Child Support

In most states, child support guidelines allow a divorce court to consider the time the child spends with each parent when calculating child support. Child support guidelines take into account each parent's income, whether the parent provides medical insurance for the child and which parent is allowed to claim the child on income tax returns.

Consult a Divorce Attorney About Joint Child Custody

A local divorce lawyer may be able to help you work out a joint child custody agreement so you don't need to worry about fighting for child custody alone.Work on protecting your relationship with your child by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form to schedule a preliminary consultation.

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The above synopsis of child custody is by no means all-inclusive and is not intended to provide legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on divorce laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.