One complicated aspect of divorce is the subject of child custody arrangements. Fortunately, there are several types of joint child custody so that both parents can usually care for their child equally, often in different ways. For example, joint physical custody allows the child to have equal time with both parents, living at each parent's house for the same amount of time. Joint legal custody allows both parents to have a say in major decisions in the child's life, even when he only lives with one parent. Finally, there is bird's nest custody, in which the child stays at one home while the parents alternate living there.
Many people think of joint physical custody when they consider joint child custody cases, as this judgment decides which parent the child will live with. As long as the time at each parent's house is equal, it can be split up however the parents prefer. For example, the child can live with each parent for about half of the week, or spend half of the year at each parent's house. In most cases, however, the child lives with one parent on the weekdays when they attend school, and then spend weekends and most of the summer break with the other parent so as not to interrupt the child's school schedule.
Joint legal custody allows both parents to make major decisions for the child together. This usually includes decisions regarding education, religion, and healthcare, to name a few. This type of joint child custody can be given to both parents along with joint physical custody, but it may also be offered when just one parent has physical custody. In most cases, the parents should be able to get along when they share this kind of joint child custody since they will likely have to discuss major decisions before they come to a compromise that they both accept.
Most parents wish to disrupt their child's life as little as possible after a divorce, which is why they may be uncomfortable with moving him often, so that each parent can spend equal time with him. Therefore, they may choose bird's nest joint child custody, in which the child stays at the same house at all times, and the parents alternate living there with the child. Of course, this requires that each parent have another home to live in while not with the child, so it may not be convenient or affordable for everyone.