When Georgia parents divorce, they might share physical custody of their children. This might be by mutual agreement, or it might be a judge’s decision following a custody hearing. Either way, parents might find themselves struggling with this new arrangement. However, there may be some advantages to joint custody.
Parents may find that it is easier to maintain discipline when they have backup from one another. If they agree on this area of parenting, they can support one another in consistent rules and enforce consequences. Joint custody also means it is more likely that parents will share the kind of incidental expenses that come up on a regular basis but may not be included in the child support agreement.
With a joint custody schedule, parents have a built-in structure. Even though they may miss their children, this gives them the opportunity to make plans with friends, take on projects such as an exercise program and even date. Parents can focus more on their career or education, working longer hours or studying when the children are with the other parent. Single parents may struggle to carve out time for themselves, but sharing custody may create that time. Finally, when parents are with their children again, they may appreciate their presence more, and the children may feel the same about their parents.
Parents may want to try to arrive at a child custody agreement and schedule through mediation instead of going to court. This may help them focus on conflict resolution and the best interests of the child. However, effective coparenting is possible even after litigation. Parents may also want to create a parenting plan that includes items such as plans for how to handle disagreements or changes in the schedule and concerns such as when and how children will meet a parent’s new partner.