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Which families benefit from joint physical custody?

The thought of spending one night away from you children may not feel entirely comfortable. However, if you're currently going through a divorce, that could be the reality you're facing.

Many parents fight tooth-and-nail to secure full custody of their children and they have a sound legal basis for doing so. Other parents, though, will need to settle for some kind of compromise in this area. That compromise may involve a 50-50 or "joint physical custody" coparenting relationship with the other parent of their children.

When does 50-50 physical custody work best?

A 50-50 or joint physical custody arrangement means that your children will have two residences. They will spend half the time living at your home and half the time living at the other parent's home. Although you might be inclined to suspect that the instability of moving from home to home could have a negative effect on your children, chances are your children will quickly adjust to this arrangement. Not only that, but child psychologists tend to agree that children benefit from spending as much time as possible with both parents under these arrangements.

That said, there are some situations in which 50-50 child custody will not work. These include:

  • When the parents do nothing but fight and disagree, this can make the coordination required for a successful coparenting relationship impossible.
  • When the unique personality traits of your child don't work well with having two homes. Not every child adjusts well to this kind of situation.
  • When the parents live far away from one another, the constant child exchanges could be difficult -- if not impossible -- to carry out.
  • When the parents have odd work or travel schedules that prevent this schedule from being possible.

Barring the above exceptions, a 50-50 child custody arrangement could be the best solution to ensure that you and your ex-spouse both receive fair and equal time with your kids.

What kind of child custody arrangements are best for your child?

Regardless of what you and your soon-to-be-ex want in terms of child custody, it's vital to focus on the best interests of your children. Ultimately, the New Jersey parents who show the court that they have aligned their wishes with the best interests of their children are the ones who will prevail in any child custody dispute.

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