Joint physical custody is often what people think of when considering joint custody in general. In reality, this only refers to the children's living situation.
There is also joint legal custody, which revolves around making decisions for the children, such as what medical care they will receive.Looking strictly at the physical custody side, you may find yourself wondering about the potential benefits and drawbacks.
Pros to joint custody
Children still have a relationship with both of their parents. Their parents get to be there to see them grow up and develop. Studies have found that this development is aided in many ways by having two parents.
It also helps the parents, who get to share the responsibilities and obligations of raising a child. That's something they shared when they were together, and they can still do it after the divorce. Though that divorce will change all of their lives, joint custody helps to reduce the overall changes for the children.
Cons related to joint custody
Children are often stuck with two parents who don't get along, and they could be exposed to arguments and disagreements. They also have less stability as they're brought back and forth between two homes. They may find it harder to feel relaxed at either house.
They don't have all of the same toys and other possessions at both homes. They may also not have the same set of rules if their parents don't agree on exactly how they should raise the kids, and that can be confusing.
How to make the right decision about custody
They key is for parents to know all of their legal rights and to understand what they can do to make things go smoothly for the kids. For instance, some of the cons can be addressed in a carefully considered parenting plan.
Source: Psychology Today, "Joint physical custody," Robert E. Emery, accessed Jan. 19, 2018