California family law judges often decide that joint physical custody is the best thing for children when their parents split up. The biggest factor in such matters is what’s in the child’s best interest. However, there are times when it’s better to avoid joint physical custody; these are some examples.
Understanding joint physical custody
Joint physical child custody occurs when the court awards custody to both parents so that each has their turn having their child living with them. In many cases, this is an ideal situation for families after a divorce because the child spends time with both parents; unfortunately, for some families, it isn’t always feasible.
Reasons to avoid joint physical custody
One major reason to avoid joint physical custody is that you and your former spouse live far away from each other. This makes things difficult for your child because it forces them to continuously shuffle back and forth from one home to the other; it’s especially difficult and even impossible when your child’s school, other responsibilities, friends and other family members are in one area versus the other. In this situation, the child’s daily life would be disrupted, which makes visitation for one parent more appropriate.
Unfortunately, some parents are unfit, which makes joint physical custody impossible. This might be due to a history of abuse against a former spouse or even the child themselves. Parents who struggle with substance use disorder who can’t seem to get or stay sober or who have untreated mental illness may also be considered unfit.
Although many parents might prefer joint physical custody, it’s not always possible. Sometimes, it’s more appropriate for a parent to only have visitation with their child.