Know when joint custody is a viable option in a family law case

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Custody |

California couples who share a child and have ended their relationship will need to address child custody. For many, despite parting ways, they can work together in raising the child. For many, joint custody is often the preferred option. There are many factors that the court considers when it decides on custody or assesses the parents’ crafted custody agreement. Knowing the law regarding joint custody and how it is handled is important for the parents from the outset.

Understand how joint custody works

From the start, the court begins with the premise that joint custody is the preferred alternative for minor children. This is true whether the parents have forged their own agreement or left it to the court to decide.

First, the court must gauge whether the joint custody template serves the child’s best interests and they will be in a safe and nurturing atmosphere regardless of which parent has the child at the time. If there have been allegations or documented incidents of abuse, drug use or other problems, then this might not be the wisest way to proceed.

Parents asking for joint custody are not guaranteed that it will be approved by the court. No matter the decision, the participants can ask the court for reasons as to why it decided as it did. Simply saying that joint custody will not serve the child’s best interests is not sufficient.

With joint custody, the court will detail when it is necessary for both parents to take part in decisions for the child and what will happen if they do not. For example, there could be a requirement that for non-emergency medical procedures, both parents need to approve.

Even if there is a joint custody order, the court can still make clear which parent is the primary caretaker and the home at which the child primarily resides. Just because there is a joint custody order does not mean it is permanent. If either or both parents request a modification, the court will again make its determination based on the child’s best interests.

The custody determination is a key to the child’s future

Joint custody is often beneficial to everyone involved, particularly in cases where the parents can discuss matters pertaining to the child without it turning contentious. Still, it is not always the best course to take. Knowing the details about joint custody and what options are available is critical to reach a positive conclusion.