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Does Joint Physical Custody Work for Your Family?

Parents in Minnesota can share legal and physical custody. However, is shared physical custody right for your children? There are some situations where it is in the best interests of your children and some situations where it may not be.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of households with married parents and minor children dropped from 40 to 20 percent between 1970 and 2012. Across the country and in our state, shared legal and physical custody is commonplace. This means parents share the authority to make decisions and physically care for their children.

Although joint physical custody has become more common, it may not be right for you. Consider these points when deciding whether it is in the best interests of your children:

  • Joint physical custody and equal parenting time requires a high degree of coordination and cooperation between divorced parents.
  • If both parents are not committed to it, joint physical custody can fuel continued hostility and conflict that negatively affects children.
  • Joint physical custody should only be entered into if it is the best arrangement for a child, not to be used to meet the needs of parents.
  • Some parents push for shared physical custody in order to increase or decrease child support commitments, without regard for the best interests of their children. That can lead for many parenting time and custody issues down the road.

Children benefit from a strong, healthy relationship with both parents. Shared physical custody does not mean equal parenting time, however, it does often reflect an arrangement where both parents have major input into the daily lives of the minor children.

For parents struggling with communication and ongoing legal difficulties, shared physical custody is a poor choice and a poor legal arrangement. When you have questions about child custody in Minnesota, talk to an experienced family law firm in St. Paul.

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