Joint custody, which is otherwise known as shared custody, has increasingly become an alternative order to be made by judges deciding child customs disputes. Earlier on it was more normal for there to be an order for sole custodian to be granted to the mother of the children and then visitation rights to be granted to the father. The arrangement can either be the subject of a custodial agreement negotiated between the parents or it can be imposed upon the couple by the judge ruling the case in the view that it is in the best interests of the children concerned.
There was a time when judges believed that they had no authority to award joint personnel because it did not exist as a judicial concept in any state statute until reliably recently. There was also no judicial precedent for this type of custodial disposition. These days almost all states in America now have statutory provisions allowing sentences to make orders for dispositions of this nature and some states even make it a presumption that it is in the best interests of the children to do it.
These days it usually means that both mother and father are jointly responsible for making decisions about the child. They are equally responsible for the upbringing of the child who has an ongoing relationship with both of them. One way of looking at this type of order is that it is an attempt to reestablish the family that had originally formed. Although it sees trite, the joint customs arrangements will not work unless there is a combination of parents who are willing to cooperate and both have the financial resources to achieve a level of support or cooperation which will create a suitable environment for the raising of the children. Although it is not always foreseen in the minds of the parties or the judicial officers handling cases, the success of joint custody arrangements is also heavily dependent on the wishes of the children concerned.
There are a number of types of joint custody arrangements. It can mean that both parents have legal authority to make decisions about the child. The child then lives with one parent and regularly visits the other. Another type of joint customs involves a separation between physical custody and legal customs where the authority for the decision making of the child is not shared but the child is physically shared between the two parents.