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Questions about Joint Physical Custody Laws

One of the things that couples filing for a divorce or legal separation need to consider is what happens to their children after the divorce or separation. In some cases, they request for joint physical custody of the child. Joint physical custody has many legal implications and can be confusing to many. How do responsibilities get shared or divided? What about child support? How to modify joint physical custody arrangements? These are some of the questions that people are often faced with? Given below are five of the top questions regarding joint physical custody that have been answered by Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.

What is Joint Physical Custody?

After a divorce/separation, many parents need to take a call on the custody of the children. Joint physical custody is where both parents have the responsibility of the physical care of the child. It need not always be 50/50, but in most cases, maximum time with both parents is preferred. Most joint physical custody judgments are made keeping the best interest of the child in mind. Both parties should normally be in agreement with the joint physical custody arrangements and any modifications to the arrangements are usually be made only by submitting a petition to the court.

How to Get Joint Physical Custody?

Parents can file a petition for joint physical custody in a family court. In most cases, the court may be in favor of joint physical custody unless the circumstances make it impossible for one parent to share custody. You can ask Family Lawyers on JustAnswer about any specific question on joint physical custody that you need clarity on.

What is the Difference between Custodial and Non-Custodial Parent in Joint Physical Custody?

Joint physical custody has two parties – the custodial and the non-custodial parent. The parent who is with the child and has physical custody for more than 50% of the time is generally referred to as the custodial parent. However, if the time spent with the child by both the parents is more or less equal, then there is not much difference between the custodial and non-custodial parent. In most such situations, both the parents have equal rights and responsibilities in raising the children.

Can the Joint Physical Custody Arrangement be Modified if One of the Parents is Getting Deployed?

In most cases of joint physical custody, one parent is given the primary custody of the child. In a situation when the primary custodian may get deployed for a while, the other parent may petition to the court for temporary custody. The joint physical custody laws may vary from state to state. In some states like Virginia, if both parents agree, they can petition to modify the current order. If either of the parents does not agree, then the other parent may have to seek help from an attorney who specializes in family law to request for primary custody.

Can a Parent Stop Paying Child Support if the Child Starts Living with him/her in a Joint Physical Custody Arrangement?

When parents opt for joint physical custody of their children after legal separation or divorce, one of them usually has to pay child support. Child support can generally not be stopped even if the child, at a later time starts to live with the other parent. It can be considered an offence if the parent does not pay child support and can lead to punishment. The parent can petition to modify child support if he/she wants the court to review and revise the custody and child support ruling.

Raising a child after a divorce or separation can be difficult. There are a lot of details and points to be looked into before the parents can come to a definite decision about the children. If you have any specific questions on joint physical custody, child support or visitation, you can ask a Family Lawyer on JustAnswer and get answers quickly and affordably.
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Recent Joint Physical Custody Questions

  • child soppurt advise

    Hello. I need a sincere legal advise. I am currently in separation from my domestic partner. He did not pay his child support since he left I have two kids with him he makes around $5000 a month he wants me to write him an email declaring his rights in regard to share custody and visitation. I am scared to oblige myself to anything without legal advise. He offers me $2250 Does not include anything extra... I want to know what are my rights I am very worried I reside in NC.

    he basically saw the kids only once this past five weeks due to the fact he didn't pay, and now he is threatening not to pay me retro.

    what are my rights as his domestic partner for the last 9 years.

    also there was a mental abuse and emotional cheat on his end for years. how all of this play a roll.

    Also if I want to go back to my country of birth out of the us can he prevent me of doing that

  • I am currently separated and going through a divorce in California.

    I am currently separated and going through a divorce in California.

    I have exclusive use of our 3-bedroom house and have minor custody of our two children, with no overnights. I have been in it exclusively for 7 months and my spouse is requesting the calculation of Watts Charges which will be held in a court hearing tomorrow. I cannot tell whether Watts Charges or Epstein credits would be appropriate.

    I am not making full use of such a large house. My spouse moved out of it on her own accord. Neither spousal support (which I would be owed) nor child support (which I would owe) have been requested. My spouse's income is much higher than mine (I receive Social Security disability payments), and the net support would be positive to me, even taking tax consequences into consideration.

    We have differing stances on just how much we each have ownership interest in the house, our 2nd house and her business. She is living in our second home with the children and my spouse's parents. My spouse is requesting charges going back to my exclusive use of the home - 7 months ago.

    The arrangement we had for nearly all of our marriage was that my spouse paid all of the housing payments, while I paid for some of the utilities, our car insurance, etc. I had and continue to have large out of pocket medical costs and did not increase my savings over the marriage. I plan to argue against paying anything, based on our arrangement during the marriage. I have no intention of leaving unless I am incented to do so financially, for instance if I’m stuck paying high rent and can’t sublet rooms.

    I would argue against me having to retroactively have to pay/accrue back to the date of my exclusive use of the property since no agreement, request for order, support payments, etc., had been done. Should a large amount be assessed for monthly payments, I certainly would say I would only have been able to make a good decision regarding housing if I knew the amount then and not so many months later.

    As far as exclusive use, she left and took the children. No domestic violence or anything. I would think I should only need to pay for as much of the house as I use, perhaps 1/3 since I only use 1 of 3 bedrooms. If I accrue Watts charges going forward without fully utilizing the house, that is going to be costly.

    I suppose my questions are these:

    1) Should I have to pay/accrue any charges at all for use of the house?

    2) If I do have to pay now that we are separated and divorcing, could I argue Watts or Epstein, depending on the rental vs. the actual housing payments depending on which is best for me (taking taxes into consideration)?

    3) Do I have to pay for the use of the whole house even though I am not fully utilizing it?
    4) If I did have to pay/accrue full value, would it be LEGAL to sublet some of the rooms and general living areas of the house? This could be very important for me to know!

    I realize there is quite a risk taking on tenants given all of the uncertainties of time until final dissolution, final financial settlement (of which I expect to receive a significant dollar amount for the major assets which she intends to keep), etc.

    There is actually a possibility that the settlement could result in me buying my spouse out of the home, taking on the mortgage and ownership, and I have significant savings and inheritance coming to me to cover costs. My health has also improved, so I could end up re-entering the workforce in the near future and make substantially more income. I also anticipate getting joint physical custody over time, so I may be able to make more and more use of the house as my children would spend more time and nights here. Again, the future is very uncertain.

    During the entire marriage I was on disability, but I did a great deal of the child-raising as a stay-at-home dad. I did unpaid part time work at my wife's business, did our complex taxes every year, etc. This was all done under a great amount of duress given my disability, and at times my health faltered and I was unable to help as much as usual. Still, I made my contributions and I figure her income was marital.

    I read that our retirement assets at the time of our marriage would be considered separate property, and that pension income based on pre-marriage employment was separate income:

    5) What about SS disability income? I paid into that before the marriage, so would that income be separate or shared marital income?
  • Im in the military stationed in Utah. My wife left me and

    I'm in the military stationed in Utah. My wife left me and wants a divorce. She went to Spokane Washington with our child. They have only been there a month however I don't know if she can even get residency there until after the divorce because she is a military spouse. I am wondering which state to file in? We want it to be an uncontested divorce were we can just file the papers and not have to go into court. Which also leads me to question whether i should file for joint physical custody or not because she said I can have her for summers which would be 3 months? She is already collecting DSHS in Washington.
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