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Tips for joint child custody arrangements

| Sep 23, 2020 | Family Law |

New Jersey parents who are getting a divorce may have joint physical custody of their children, meaning their children spend roughly the same amount of time at each of their homes. Parents should make an effort to avoid saying negative things about one another in front of their children. This can negatively affect the child’s relationship and may affect the child’s self-image.

Planning the schedule

Parents must remain focused on the best interests of their children even if the custody arrangement is inconvenient for them. They do need to be realistic about their own schedule when creating the custody plan and avoid making commitments they cannot keep. While making the schedule, they should keep several things in mind, including the child’s age and extracurricular activities. Younger children may benefit from going back and forth more frequently. Parents can use plans that switch up how often the child is with them each week. For example, a 2-2-3 plan has the child with one parent the first two days, the other parent the next two days and the first parent the final three days. A week later, there is a switch.

Best practices

In most cases, children benefit from time with both parents. Parents should listen to their children, find a way to communicate effectively and review the schedule periodically to see if it needs updating.

Reaching an agreement on child custody can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce although parents may be happier with an outcome they negotiate with the assistance of their attorneys instead of going to court. There may be situations in which joint physical custody is not appropriate or a parent is worried about a child’s safety with the other parent. These cases may need to be resolved in litigation.