More couples in Massachusetts and other states are considering joint custody. In fact, some states are passing laws to make shared custody mandatory. However, you may wonder if this type of custody arrangement works for every family. The answer to that is no. When there are cases of domestic abuse or one parent has no interest in being involved in the child’s life, joint custody puts children at risk.

Even in families with amicable splits, one parent may move to another state or country. How do they maintain joint physical custody of their children if they are not physically present? This may lead to complicated arrangements that only stress both the child and the parent in the name of making equal claims. According to Psychology Today, in these arrangements, children may move between parents as often as every few days or as spread apart as every semester. This results in your children having two sets of belongings and living arrangements.

Your child may love this or they may absolutely hate it. It really boils down to their personal preferences. However, forcing them into the arrangement because psychologists say, in general, it is beneficial, may undo all of those benefits. That said, what a child hates in the beginning, they may grow to love over time.

One way to make the transition easier for children is to consider whether the 50/50 time split makes sense. Children rarely spend 50/50 time with parents when they live together, so mandating this when they are apart may not make the most sense. Instead, you may consider a more equitable distribution of time depending on who the children spend most of their time with or who does most of the parenting.

This article provides information on joint custody. It should not be used as or in place of legal advice.