The downside of joint physical custody

On the whole, many parents and courts feel that joint physical custody should be used whenever possible. Experts have said that this is within the child’s best interests, and most cases will at least consider this, usually choosing it unless there are glaring reasons not to do so – such as abuse.

However, that does not mean that joint physical custody is perfect. There are still a lot of downsides that parents have to consider in Maryland.

For instance, children have to make their own adjustments, going from living in one house to splitting time between two homes. This can be difficult for children who no longer feel “at home” in the second house.

Moving the child back and forth can also be stressful for parents and children alike. For parents, it’s just one more responsibility, along with the cost of transportation. For children, they may be forced into a schedule they don’t like and didn’t choose. Also, when one parent does not stick to the schedule, it can really cause a lot of arguments.

Plus, children may just forget things. A toothbrush or a pair of pajamas could be left at one house, only to be discovered as missing at bed time. Parents either end up buying copies of everything so that both homes have the same sets of essentials, or they have to run back and forth constantly to pick up anything that’s been left behind.

This isn’t to say that joint parent plans shouldn’t be used, but all parents who are considering them need to be aware of their rights and what these plans will really mean.

Source: Single Parents, “Explanation of Joint Physical Custody,” Jennifer Wolf, accessed Sep. 30, 2015