Should You Have a Joint Child Custody Agreement?

Joint custody agreements can work well for the children and the parents.
Joint custody agreements can work well for the children and the parents.

What is a Joint Custody Agreement?

More and more divorced and separated parents are attempting joint child custody agreements for their custody situations. A joint custody agreement differs from a regular custody agreement in that the parents both openly acknowledge that they think it is important for the mother and father to be involved in the child's life. The joint agreement includes both parents for every part of raising and rearing the children. In general, parents who are able to make a joint agreement work find that they have more happiness in the custody situation and that the children adapt better to the divorce or separation.

Factors to Consider

Parents who are thinking about implementing a joint custody agreement need to consider a number of factors to determine if it is right for them. Some of the factors to consider include:

  • The distance between the parents' homes for the joint custody schedule
  • How well the parents are able to communicate
  • If both parents are committed to the joint agreement
  • How much each parent participated in raising the children before the divorce
  • How well the parents can resolve disputes and conflict
  • The work schedules of both parents
  • Other information that affects the parent-child relationships

Thinking about all of these factors can help a mother and father know if a joint custody agreement is best for their child and for them.

Have you tried a joint custody agreement?

  • Yes--it works wonderfully
  • Yes, but it didn't work for us
  • No, but I'd like to try
  • No, I know it will never work
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Focusing on the Child

In the end, the most important thing to consider when deciding on a joint custody agreement is if it is best for the child. The custody agreement should have the child's welfare as the focus, and if the child will benefit from having both the mother and father involved in his/her life, than the parents should work to make it happen.

A joint custody agreement certainly brings along challenges and frustrations to the parent--just like any custody agreement. If you are working towards this arrangement, you should remember that you are making these sacrifices for your child, and your effort will pay off in the end.

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