As you embark on the divorce process, you will face many critical decisions, such as who gets to keep the marital home. You might also end up pursuing alimony or having to pay it.

However, one of the most difficult aspects of any divorce involving young children is how to handle child custody. Joint custody is one of multiple custody arrangements available in Ohio today, with both joint legal custody and joint physical and legal custody being possible scenarios.

What is joint legal custody?

Joint legal custody is a relatively common custody arrangement. With this arrangement, both you and the other parent can make decisions regarding the rearing of your children, along with important aspects of their welfare. However, only one of you would receive physical custody of the children.

What is joint physical and legal custody?

In a true joint custody arrangement, you and the other party would share equal physical custody and legal custody rights. In other words, you both would play an equal role in making choices regarding your children’s welfare and upbringing. In addition, you would split your time evenly when it comes to caring for your children each day. For instance, the children may live with you one month and then with the other parent the next month.

This type of arrangement does not happen often because it can cause practical problems and personal challenges. For example, it may cause stress for the entire family and disrupt the children’s routine, as they would constantly have to go back and forth between their parents to live with them. In addition, it can lead to scheduling conflicts and be costly due to having to create two permanent spaces for the children to live in.

Your rights when dealing with child custody

If you and the other parent can come up with a parenting agreement that addresses child custody, you can avoid further court intrusion. You can create this type of mutually satisfactory agreement during informal negotiations or during divorce mediation, for example.

However, if you cannot reach a custody decision between yourselves, a judge will end up making the decision for you at divorce trial. Either way, you have the right to pursue the outcome you desire while most importantly considering the best interests of the children.