Differences Between Shared Custody and Joint Custody

Over the last few years, the Florida divorce rate slowly decreased. While in 2016 there were 3.9 divorces per 1,000 inhabitants, the following two years saw the rate go to 3.6, only to then reach 3.5 in 2019 and 3 per 1,000 inhabitants in 2020

Despite the decrease, a lot of the families that got divorced in Florida have children, leading to a long battle for the little ones’ custody. This is why they hire a Jacksonville family law attorney to help them settle the matter. 

However, there are two types of custody – shared and joint. Many think that joint custody and shared custody are the same, but in reality, the two are different. If you’re going to seek custody, you should know the differences between these two terms. 

What Is Child Custody and How Does It Work?

Child custody refers to the physical and legal relationship of a parent with their children. It is something that is often given after two spouses make the decision to get a divorce, and want to settle who the child will stay with. 

Most of the time, the mother of the child ends up getting physical custody, and there are many historical examples of this. Of course, this doesn’t eliminate a father’s chances of obtaining custody too, depending on the circumstances.

What Is Shared Custody?

Shared custody involves both parents having a legal physical right to their children. Simply put, the former spouses can both spend an equal amount of time raising and taking care of their little ones. This will be done in separate households. 

Sometimes, this custody type may not share legal parental rights. In such a case, aspects like the education and healthcare of the child should be decided on by the divorced couple. Ideally, the parents have to find a common ground for the well-being of the kid. 

Shared custody is best when one of the parents doesn’t have the best financial situation or is frequently traveling. Another situation when shared custody is suitable is when one parent is injured or sick or is dealing with other similar issues that don’t allow them to properly take care of their child. 

What Is Joint Custody?

With joint custody, both parents will be able to communicate and make decisions that are in the child’s best interest. Furthermore, the little one will be able to spend time with both parents separately at their houses. 

However, in this case, one parent cannot make all decisions or changes for the child – the other parent also has to agree to it first. As such, when it comes to healthcare, education, religion, and other aspects, the approval of both parents is necessary. 

This is why in joint custody, the former spouses must be people who are willing to cooperate and compromise despite the differences they had. Also, it can be a bit more stressful for the children involved.

What Is the Difference Between Joint Custody and Shared Custody?

While the two types of custody share some similarities, they are different and offer distinct rights to the parents. 

With joint custody, both parents will have to compromise and make decisions together with the child. It means that there must be a lot of trust in the former spouse, and good communication should be a staple in this type of relationship. 

Parents have the opportunity to mutually agree about various aspects and important decisions regarding the child’s life, such as healthcare and education. They have to meet in order to see what direction they should take for the child’s best interest.

Shared custody, on the other hand, gives both parents the chance to spend time with the child. More specifically, they will be able to take care of their child 50% of the time. But unlike joint custody, it doesn’t always involve the parents’ equal right to make choices and decisions for the future of the child. 

Generally, one of the parents will make all these decisions. If the parents are willing to cooperate, though, they can also make decisions together. It depends on the case. 

Final Thoughts

Shared custody and joint custody are similar in some aspects, but they are separate custody options. One of them offers both parents more decision-making rights than the other, but the other may offer the parents equal time with their little bundle of joy. 

If you’re getting divorced soon, it’s important to know the custody options and what they involve so you can make the best decision for your child.

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