The decision to break up with your spouse is rarely a speedy one to make when children are involved. However, if you're in the throes of a toxic marriage, you might want to consider whether your children are better off if you and your spouse go your separate ways.
In the end, if you decide to follow through with your break-up plans, you'll need to determine how you and your spouse will share child custody. One growing trend is for parents to share joint physical custody.
Joint physical custody is more than simply "joint custody," which might only refer to joint legal custody, in which both parents have the right to be involved in important decisions relating to the child, but the child could still live full-time with just one parent.
In the case of joint physical custody, it means that the child will divide his or her time living with both of the parents. Often these are 50-50 split situations, and the child will essentially have two homes. This kind of custody arrangement can work well, and family law psychologists agree that children benefit from spending as much time as possible with both parents after a break-up. In fact, these arrangements even outweigh the supposed negative effects of the children having two homes.
Joint physical custody arrangements work best when:
- The parents live in the same city.
- The parents can find a way to make their custody arrangements work with their employment schedules.
- Both parents do not have to travel on a frequent basis.
- The parents are good about peacefully resolving conflicts when faced with an area of potential disagreement.
- The parents agree that joint custody is the best for them and their child.
- The children are emotionally stable and comfortable dividing their time between two residences.
Joint physical custody arrangements can be particularly helpful to the parents and the children, so that they can maintain the strongest bonds possible. If you want to structure your child custody agreement to establish joint custody, you might want to learn more about this important area of child custody and family law.