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Can Shared Custody Parenting Plans Work For Your Family?

Updated on January 19, 2012
Shared custody allows both parents to be involved in the day-to-day care of their children.
Shared custody allows both parents to be involved in the day-to-day care of their children. | Source

When parents divorce, a big concern is determining the best visitation and custody scenario for the children. It can be confusing to figure out what is best for the children, and what works for the parents. When it comes to custody, most parents look at sole custody versus a shared custody, also known as joint custody.

A shared custody or joint custody parenting plan is a formal agreement between two separated parents that outlines how they will work together to parent their children. It involves setting up two homes, communicating with each other on major decisions regarding the children and establishing a schedule of where the children will spend time. The time spent in each residence is usually not equal.

There are many misconceptions about what shared custody is and is not, so learn the facts before you commit to a shared custody parenting plan.

What Shared Custody Is

  • Shared custody is flexible and full of compromise.
  • Shared custody is beneficial for children with easygoing personalities who adapt well to change.
  • Shared custody is appropriate for parents who have similar child raising views.
  • Shared custody is successful when parents display maturity, cooperation and a commitment to making their children's needs a priority.
  • Shared custody is best for parents who are willing to live in close proximity to each other.
  • Shared custody is a good choice for parents who are generally reliable and dependable.
  • Shared custody is a good way to alleviate some of the burdens of single parenting.
  • Shared custody is easier for parents to balance career and family responsibilities.
  • Shared custody is expensive because each parents must maintain a full household appropriate for their children.
  • Shared custody is awarded when a judge agrees that it is in the best interest of the children.

What Shared Custody Is Not

  • Shared custody is not easy to execute.
  • Shared custody is not about strictly equal parenting time.
  • Shared custody is not appropriate for parents with a history of disagreements on child rearing.
  • Shared custody is not right when one parent doesn’t know how to care for the children’s basic needs.
  • Shared custody is not good for parents with high-conflict relationships.
  • Shared custody is not for children who do poorly with constant change.
  • Shared custody is not for children who have difficulty adjusting to new situations.
  • Shared custody is not a way for the non-residential parent to pay less child support.
  • Shared custody is not advisable when one parent has a history of violence, debilitating mental illness, alcohol abuse, drug use or neglect.

If parents can work together on issues that arise when raising their children, shared custody parenting plans can be quite beneficial to children. A poorly executed parenting plan can leave children feeling stressed, anxious and divided as they are exposed to increasing tension. Before separating parents decide on what kind of custody they will seek in court, they should honestly analyze their ability to co-parent.

Custody X Change is custody software that provides the best parenting plan templates for divorcing parents. The software makes it easy for parents to explore different plan ideas and to create a child custody schedule that satisfies everyone.


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