Shared custody of a child is appropriate in any divorce case where both parents are fit to care for their child and the court determines that a shared custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. In nearly all cases, it is best for a child to have a consistent, substantial relationship with both of his or her parents. With this in mind, the court does its best to create child custody arrangements that allow for these relationships to develop and flourish.
If you are a parent going through the divorce process, speak with me about the different types of custody arrangements that exist and which type might be best for your situation. Shared custody requires cooperation from a child’s parents. It is often confused with joint custody, which is a custody arrangement where each parent has specific custodial rights and responsibilities to the child, such as the right to make medical decisions for the child or living with the child for the majority of the time. Shared custody is a more equal, rather than equitable, type of parenting arrangement.
Shared Custody is Appropriate When the Parents Live Close to Each Other
Because a child spends approximately equal amounts of time with each parent in a shared custody arrangement, the parents need to live reasonably close to each other, preferably within the same school district. When parents live far from each other, the stress and cost of constant travel can become exhausting for all parties involved.
Shared Custody is Appropriate When a Child’s Parents Can Work Together
In a joint custody arrangement, parents need to respect each other’s time and interaction style with the child even if they do not agree with it. In a shared custody arrangement, the parents work together much more closely to raise the child, often continuing the parenting style they employed during their marriage. If you feel you cannot work closely with your former spouse to parent your child together, shared custody is probably not right for you.
Shared Custody is Best for Equally-Equipped Parents
Many factors go into the determination of whether a shared parenting schedule is well suited for your child. As already noted, the distance between the parents’ two homes can be a factor. If one parent is single, living alone and the other is remarried and has stepchildren, the families’ dynamics can affect the success of a shared parenting schedule. However, this and other factors can make a more rigid joint custody arrangement preferable for your child. Other examples of cases where a shared custody arrangement might not work are cases where one parent’s home does not have adequate space for a child to live there on a regular basis or one parent whose job requires him or her to travel out of state or out of the country frequently. Every family is unique – just because there are potent challenges does not mean a successful schedule cannot be implemented in your case.
Work with a Chicago Child Custody Attorney
When you are working through a divorce, it is important that you understand all the issues at hand, especially those that relate to your child. Contact me today to schedule our free legal consultation to determine how these issues could play out in your divorce case. I am an experienced child custody attorney who can help you through the divorce process.