In a divorce proceeding the mother requested sole custody of the child with "a strong consultative albeit not decision-making role" for the father. The father requested a joint custody order.
- What should the court consider when making a determination about joint custody?
Sole custody granted to the mother.
The court takes note of several things to be considered when thinking about a joint custody order:
- has each parent maintained a meaningful relationship with their children and does each possess parenting capabilities that are adequate to meet their children's needs?
- will the parents be able to make decisions together about the children? Are they able to co-parent despite any conflict on a personal level between themselves? Can they separate feelings for each other to focus upon the children's need for a relationship with both parents? Can they separate their personal relationship from the parent/child relationship?
- will the children be involved in the conflict between the parents in a detrimental manner?
- will the proposed joint custody arrangement cause disruption and discontinuity to the children's developmental needs?
In the case at bar, Stewart acknowledges that both parties seem to be good parents, but even after 24 months apart the relationship between them is not workable. Finding that it would be detrimental to force the parties to make decisions together, a sole custody order is granted.
Factors to consider regarding joint custody:
- Meaningful relationship: has each parent maintained a meaningful relationship with the child(ren)? Do they possess adequate parenting ability to meet the child(ren)'s needs?
- Cooperation: can they set aside their differences and make decisions together about the children?
- Involvement of the child(ren) in the conflict: will the child(ren) be involved in the conflict between the parents in a detrimental manner?
- Disruption to the child(ren): will the joint custody agreement cause disruption or discontinuity in the child(ren)'s needs?