But We Have Joint Custody

November 4, 2008 – 9:34 am

When couples separate they often struggle with the issue of custody. Often each party will want to continue to parent their children, despite the separation. The concept of parenting however really covers two different issues. Parenting can mean who makes decisions, such as educational, health and well-being decisions, for the children. Also parenting can mean where the children reside. A joint custody arrangement deals with the first issue, not the second.

With a joint custody arrangement, parenting decisions are to be made jointly after discussion as to what is in the children’s best interest. Where the children actually reside remains a separate issue to be settled between the couple, despite any agreement for joint custody. The children may reside, for example, most of the time, with one parent, even though there is a joint custody arrangement in place. It is the residence arrangement that is used to determine who pays child support. Consequently when working out any custody arrangement it is important to discuss not just custody but also where the children are going to reside and for what length of time.

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