When a marriage that involves a child comes to an end through a divorce, the court will often encourage a custody arrangement where both parents are actively involved in the child’s upbringing. Handled properly, joint custody can help the child adjust to the new living arrangement through regular contact with both parents.
However, joint custody, just like other arrangements, comes with its share of challenges, especially if one parent disapproves of the arrangement. It is not uncommon for one parent to sideline the other while making decisions regarding the child’s upbringing.
Understanding parental roles in a joint custody arrangement
Joint custody, also known as shared custody, simply implies that both parents will have shared rights and responsibilities in deciding how they will raise the child after the divorce. These decisions are informed by the doctrine of the child’s best interests and are meant to safeguard their physical, mental and emotional well-being while ensuring that both parents provide the best possible care.
So how are decisions made in joint custody?
Both parents have a duty to provide, care and make joint decisions regarding their child’s well-being. Once the divorce is finalized, the following decision-making process should be observed unless otherwise specified by the court:
- Any significant and non-emergency decision has to be made upon consultation between the parents
- A parent can make ordinary day-to-day decisions concerning the child during the time they are with the child
In an event of an emergency, the parent with the child can make decisions independently. Upon making such decisions, the parent with the child is expected to inform the other parent within a reasonable timeframe.
Safeguarding your parental rights
Joint parenting can be stressful, especially if one spouse is not keen to comply with the existing custody order. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests while litigating your parenting and custody case.