Separation or divorce between a married couple can be emotionally horrible and devastating for both the parties involved, and circumstances may even get much uglier when there are children involved.
Which is why most of the time, the courts as well as the parents agree on joint custody of the child in order to protect the emotional well being and mental health of the minor(s).
Perks of Joint Custody
When divorce or separation happens in a peaceful manner, where both parties can cater to the needs for the child, they both get joint child custody of the minor.
The upside of joint custody is that the parents can decide how joint custody can work, and often the court gives the spouses a particular amount of time to come to a peaceful arrangement on the custody of the child.
In the most optimistic situation, both the parents have jobs that can cater to the monetary support for the child and then they can themselves spend equal time in the upbringing of the young person.
Types of Joint Custody
It is important to note that there are two types of joint custody: physical and legal custody.
Physical custody refers to whom the child physically resides with and the other party will have visitation rights.
For example, if the father has full physical custody, the mother may have visitation rights. Visitation rights and privileges are also divided into reasonable and structured rights.
Reasonable visitation refers to the fact that there is no strict or rigorous timetable for visitation and depends on the mutual agreement and understanding between the two parties.
On the other hand, structured visitation refers to the fact that there is a structured schedule to be followed by the parent who does not reside with the child.
For example, he or she may visit or take the custody of the child on birthdays, holidays, weekends, and summer or winter breaks.
It is equally imperative to note that joint parental custody entails the timetable of when and how long can a child stay with a parent.
Often, the minor resides with both the parents on a monthly or weekly basis at different intervals.
Joint legal custody entails that both the parents have the right to make important decisions pertaining to the child equally or jointly.
This can be in regards to the children’s schooling, his or her religion, and health.
In this manner, both the spouses have equal rights to access the minors educational and health records.
However, it is to be noted that having joint legal custody does not in any manner whatsoever affect child support.
Furthermore, in some scenarios, the parents may have both joint physical as well as legal custody of the child.
Joint Child Support
Child support refers to the payment that is to be given by the parents towards the children to fulfill their education, health, and ordinary care.
In joint custody, the burden of child support can be shared by both the parents, however, it is very often that the parent with the higher income has to accommodate the bigger proportion of the child support bill.
Laws for child support vary between different states; however, the general factors that the courts determine while keeping in mind child support comprise of the following:
- Income of both the parents
- Expenses of the child which usually involves educational and health expenses, as well as the expenses of the residence that the child and the parent lives in
- Age of the child ,along with the number of children involved in the matter
In some states, the law allows the family court judges to deviate from the usual child support structure; however, the judge who deviates has to give concrete reasons as to why he deviated from the child support structure in the first place.
Consequences of Not Paying Up
If a parent refuses to pay for child support, depending on state legislation, he or she may face criminal charges.
Furthermore, the Deadbeat Parents Punishment Act of 1998 states that if a parent is found guilty of evading child support payment and moves to another state or country, they will be entitled to felony punishment if the amount of child support remains unpaid over $5000 or the parent has not made the required child support payment for over a year.