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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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