Most parenting plans are not sole custody as the courts encourage both parents to be involved with the children. However, if one parent is an absent parent or maybe has issues that deem that parent should have supervised contact, for example, then a sole parenting plan may be more appropriate in that circumstances. Joint legal custody with the designation of a parent of primary residence is very common, with the other parent designated as the parent of alternate residence. This means that the parent of primary residence makes the day-to-day decisions concerning the children and the parties confer with each other on major issues.
How do divorcing couples decide whether sole or joint custody is best?
Sometimes, divorcing couples decide custody based on a joint legal and physical custody arrangement so that the parties confer on all decisions, including the day-to-day decisions. Many plans are a fusion of joint legal and physical custody and the parties agree in advance to what the parent of primary residence will do, such as doctor appointments.
Sometimes the parties agree that the parent of primary residence has the ability to pick the nursery school. Other plans have the parent of primary residence having to confer with the parent of alternate residence on the choice of nursery schools or the choice of churches, or religion. If one parent has always been the parent that took care of the doctors, teachers, schools, then the parties may agree that that parent will continue in that function.
However, if the parties are now divorcing and the parent of alternate residence feels that they now want to be more involved, then the parties may agree that neither party will choose a doctor without conferring with the other parent and entering into an agreement.
So when it comes to how divorcing couples decide custody, the main factors to keep in mind is always the child and the dynamics that will work best for your family going forward to remain a healthy line of communication and decision making.
New Jersey attorney Cynthia Ann Brassington is certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney, and regularly helps people to resolve their divorce-related issues, from property division, to child support, and custody. To learn more about Cynthia and her practice visit www.LinwoodFamilyLaw.com.