Why Joint Custody Can Be The Better Option

By Gerald A. Maggio, Esq.

child custody mediators Orange County; California Divorce MediatorsWhen a couple decides to get a divorce and share a child together, they need to look into the best interests of the child and what’s best for the child over their needs and desires. It is important for the child to have both of his parents – his mother and father involved in his life for a healthy and all round upbringing and stable mental and emotional development.

Why is joint or shared custody the preferred form of custody?

Joint or shared custody is always the preferred option when deciding custodial rights over the child. In joint or shared custody, both parents play a significant role in the upbringing of the child and bear the burden of raising the child together. The child spends 50 percent of his time with one parent and the other 50 percent of the time with the other parent and gets the best of both parents.

Shared custody is preferred also because it offers the parents some flexibility in terms of time and sharing the child’s responsibilities. So if one parent is busy with work or other commitments and cannot tend to the child on a particular day the other parent can always step in and relieve the other parent of the burden and take over the responsibility of the child. Shared custody gives both parents and the child flexibility with schedules and is better for the emotional and mental upbringing of the child. The child will have a better overall development and will be able to maintain relationships with peers better.

Divided custody – why should it be opted as the last resort?

Divided custody is one of the biggest mistakes that divorcing parents can make for their child. The parents see the custody of the child as a competition and become rivals with each other fighting over who should get the child. Each parent wants to prove that they are the better parent instead of focusing their primary concerns on the intellectual, mental and emotional well-being of the child. The child has to have two separate lives, go to two different schools, have two different sets of friends and this takes a huge toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally which could have a negative impact on his relationships and friendships.

Each parent tries to take credit for the child’s successes and tries to blame the other for the child’s mistakes. The child is forced to choose which parent he likes better and cannot have a healthy relationship with both parents like in the case of joint custody. The parents must learn to do what’s best for the child and not themselves and look at custody as a cooperation between both parents, not a competition.  This is why joint custody of children is preferred over divided custody.

To learn more about the divorce process in California and how mediation can help, please visit our page, What is Divorce Mediation