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Joint Custody Work Explained

Joint Custody Work Explained

The term “joint custody” seems straightforward; however, when spouses separate, navigating how joint custody works becomes complex. Furthermore, understanding how to make this child custody arrangement work for you and your family requires careful consideration.

At The Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., our family law team wants to help you draft a custody arrangement that meets your family’s needs and addresses your goals and concerns. You should understand what a joint custody arrangement means for you and your child.

What Is Joint Custody?

Joint custody agreements are legal arrangements that give parents relatively equal visitation time or decision-making power for a child. There are two distinct types of custody: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child lives. The parent the child lives with is responsible for caring for the child. Legal custody refers to which parents can make decisions for the child concerning long-term child-raising decisions like education, religion, and medical decisions.

A judge determines custody arrangements based on the best interests of the child. Joint custody benefits the child’s well-being not only by allowing a loving relationship with both parents but also by fostering shared decision-making.

Other joint custody arrangements, including sole physical custody and joint legal custody, can work for some families. In this scenario, the child would live primarily with one parent; however, both parents can make decisions about the child’s welfare. Moreover, they can collaborate on important matters concerning the child’s upbringing.

What Happens If the Custodial Parent Doesn’t Show Up to Court?

If the court intervenes in the child custody process, both parents must attend court to present their case. If a parent misses court, the court can decide on child support and custody without their input. The other party’s position can be taken as fact and may result in an automatic judgment against the absent parent.

As a parent, attending every scheduled court date is vital to ensure your side of the situation is heard, furthermore, you can advocate for yourself effectively. Your appearance in court shows that you take your parenting responsibilities seriously and give your child’s needs precedence. An experienced child custody attorney can advocate for you, manage legal deadlines, and ensure your family’s needs are addressed.

How to Get Joint Custody Without Going to Court

a family law attorney talking about joint custody

Heading to court and having a judge decide the outcome of your child custody case can feel frightening and overwhelming. If you and your ex-partner are mostly on the same page about the upbringing of your child, you may be able to bypass going to court and arrive at a mutual child custody agreement through negotiations or mediation.

Mediation is an out-of-court alternative that helps parents arrive at a mutually beneficial child custody arrangement through a neutral third party’s assistance. A mediator does not offer advice. Additionally, a mediator facilitates engagement, communication, and compromise between two parties. Furthermore, they promote understanding and collaboration, paving the way for resolution.

Mediation is typically a less stressful, more cost-effective, private way to resolve disputes.

Consider mediation as a means to work with your ex-spouse amicably, fostering open communication to come up with a child custody arrangement that works for everyone, thereby avoiding the need to go to court.

How a Family Law Attorney Can Help

A child custody lawyer can help you navigate the confusing and overwhelming process of advocating for yourself and your child in the New Jersey legal system. They can go to mediation with you. They can negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to hammer out a custody agreement that’s beneficial for all.

At The Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., our compassionate legal team understands that this may be a challenging time for your family. We want to support you every step of the way and work with you to achieve the most favorable child custody arrangement possible.

You don’t have to deal with the child custody process alone. Call our Monmouth County child custody lawyer today at (732) 898-2378 and request a confidential legal consultation. Let’s work together to find a custody solution that benefits your family.

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