What is joint custody?
Joint custody, as opposed to sole custody, allows both parents to share in both the legal and physical custody of the children - in these cases, both parents have equal rights to decision making and each is allowed to spend equal time with the children. Courts tend to favor joint custody arrangements to allow children to have both parents in their lives after the divorce; in fact, many courts have a general presumption in favor of joint custody because this arrangement provides the closet thing a child can get to a regular, nuclear family. However, joint custody can also be disruptive to children who have to travel back and forth between parents or get caught in the hostilities between parents. Courts will not favor joint custodial arrangements if the parents are unable to cooperate together or if the parents do not agree on parenting styles. Furthermore, courts are less likely to grant joint custody if the children have little or no relationship with one parent.