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How do I share custody with my ex-spouse?

As couples with children start going through a divorce, most of the time they want nothing more than to focus on the children and make them the top priority. That can feel easier said than done when working with an ex-spouse.

As you and your ex start working on a shared custody plan, it’s important to establish exactly what custody you will share and how you will continue working together to be good parents to your children.

Physical and legal custody

As you begin developing a plan, you and your ex will want to establish if you will share physical or legal custody, or both. What is best for the family is dependent on your unique situation.

Physical custody is self-explanatory: it determines where the children will reside. Shared physical custody means children will have periods of residing with and being under the supervision of each parent, and ensures frequent contact with both parents.

Legal custody determines who has the right to make major decisions about the children’s welfare, which includes matters of education; medical care; emotional, moral and religious development; and more. Shared legal custody requires continued mutual responsibility and involvement of both parents to make those decisions together.

Some families find sharing both forms of custody works better. Others may choose to grant sole physical custody to one parent and the other visitation, while preserving shared legal custody rights.

Creating a parenting plan

Once you and your ex have established how custody will be shared, creating an effective plan that caters to those needs is the next step. A good plan will outline all of the details of an agreement, such as defining parental roles, how decisions are to be made, how to handle future issues and more.

A family law attorney can work with parents to craft a joint plan that works for their situation and hits all of the necessary points to guarantee shared parenting is accomplished, and the children’s needs continue to be put first in all matters. 



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