New Jersey Family Law Lawyers discuss Shared Custody

In the aftermath of a divorce, when there are minor children involved, determining who has custody—where the child will live—and what visitation will look like are often the hardest issues to resolve. Though the general rule used to be that one parent was granted physical custody and the other had visitation, more and more courts have allowed or ordered “joint physical custody.”

Joint Physical Custody Defined

Joint physical custody, also known as shared custody or shared parenting, means that the minor child spends some part of each week with each parent, and has a permanent living space in the home of both parents. Accordingly, there is technically no distinction between a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent. In most instances of shared custody, the goal is to divide the child’s time equally between both parents. There are pros and cons to such an arrangement.

Advantages of Shared Custody

Proponents of joint physical custody assert that the arrangement has numerous benefits for children and parents, including:

  • A strong bond with both parents and with both families
  • The elimination of the “Disneyland Mom or Dad” mentality—when your child spends half his or her life with you, it can’t always be about having a good time
  • Neither parent is relegated to the role of “visitor” in his or her child’s life
  • Children have to learn to take responsibility for personal items

Disadvantages of Shared Custody

Some psychologists and therapists, though, have expressed serious reservations about shared custody arrangements. They argue that, instead of feeling like they have two homes, many children in shared parenting situations feel like they have no home at all, that they are not anchored anywhere. They point out that a critical need for a developing child is stability, and that a child’s sense of security is tied to that stability. When the child moves back and forth on a regular basis, it can be difficult for that child to feel a sense of belonging somewhere.

Contact the Experienced New Jersey Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates

If you or someone you know has a question about whether shared child custody is right for them, call one of the skilled family law attorneys at Lyons & Associates, P.C.

Contact our office online or call us at 908-575-9777 to schedule a confidential consultation. Lyons & Associates, PC, serves the entire state of New Jersey including Somerville, Bridgewater, Somerset, Basking Ridge, Mendham and Morristown.