San Jose Divorce Lawyer Discusses Divorce and Custody
When getting a divorce, one of the most difficult questions is whether a parent wants joint custody or sole legal and physical custody of the child. Deciding on if joint custody is right for you depends a great deal on the ability of you and your spouse to get along. If you are to share decision-making, you must be able to sit down with your former spouse in a non-combative atmosphere and make decisions together. Shared values and parenting styles make this custody style more viable.
Here’s what psychologists have found after long-term studies of families in joint-custody arrangements and sole-custody arrangements in an article from Pamela Weintraub and Terry Hillman:
Joint custody is a viable option only if the parents have an amicable relationship with each other, communicate well, and understand the nuances of their kids’ day-to-day routines. Parents in this situation feel more involved in their children’s lives than the noncustodial parent in the sole-custody arrangement. On the other hand, in a family where one parent says “black” and the other parent says “white,” the children are better off with a sole-custody arrangement to reduce the possibility that their parents will fight over every decision that must be made on their behalf.
For parents not on friendly terms, joint legal custody (that is to say, joint decision-making) means more room for disagreement and continuation of conflict. These parents are more likely to return to court than parents who have one decision-maker (sole custody).
If you’re able to communicate about the kids, are willing to live in close proximity to your ex, and have the time and resources to share “possession and access” (as they say in Texas) or “physical custody” (as it’s more commonly called), then it can be a great thing for everyone. But generally, only children who tend to be easy-going by nature can adapt well to this kind of living arrangement. Children who do poorly with constant change, have difficulty adjusting to new situations, and seem to need a great deal of stability and security in their lives don’t do well with joint physical custody.
In short, if you can agree to most of the following statements, joint custody could work for your family:
I will communicate openly with my ex-spouse regarding the children’s needs and activities.
I can be flexible in working with my ex-spouse and put my children’s needs first.
I will never bad-mouth my ex-spouse in front of my children. On the contrary, I will show nothing but respect for my children’s other parent.
I will respect my ex-spouse’s right to have his or her own house rules and not undermine them.
If communication doesn’t work, then joint custody is not a good choice for your family.
Here at Sagaria Law, we offer a full range of family law and legal services including divorce, paternity, adoption, child custody and visitation matters, child support, spousal support, alimony, juvenile dependency, domestic violence, division of property, grandparent visitation and custody, etc. We have seven Northern California locations including San Jose, San Francisco, Redwood City, Fremont, Salinas, Roseville and Sacramento. We offer a free thirty minute consultation, either in person at any of our offices, or over the phone. Call our offices today and we can connect you with an attorney immediately or we can schedule your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys: (408) 279-2288 or (800) 941-6730 or visit www.sagarialaw.com