Joint Physical and Joint Legal Custody

Unfortunately, I’m not in that particular situation. A Judge thought it was perfectly acceptable for me to have “reasonable visitation”, which in reality, boils down to which two weeks in the summer does my ex have plans. If you want some good research material “pro Joint Custody” visit There you can find all the horror stories about our current family courts you can possibly handle. As far as “con Joint Custody” go into any women’s rights group or child support office. Be warned, the statistical data put out by child support offices is severly flawed. Senate testimony showed that the figures are actually nothing but a wild guess at times. The reasoning for this is that joint custody will reduce child support collections, which in turn will reduce Federal handouts from Social Security,(up to $470,000,000 PER STATE this year) to the state agencies which collect it.

I supposedly have Joint Legal and Physical Custody, but I have found that it is not so. My ex gets to make all the major decisions and if I do not agree, he takes me to Court. Because he is in a much more superior financial situation than me, he decides and then has the Court to force me into his decisions. Joint Legal and Physical Custody results in one parent becoming an indentured servant to the other parent who has more control and power. For instance, he registered my son for a tennis tournament on my custodial time that would require me to travel and bear the expense of hotels, etc. When I tried to refuse, he took me to Court and the judge ordered me to take my child to the tournament. He registered my child for a month long camp and took away two weeks of my time plus I had to pay 50% of the cost, without my consent or agreement. If he doesn’t want to turn my son over at the Court Ordered time, he doesn’t. And…there is nothing I can do…equal decision making ability, right? Order states 30 days notification of any out of the country travel. He failed to notify me, but used the excuse that he never imagined that I would object! He had no intention of ever notifying me as I found out in a roundabout way. Son had surgery and I was not even told where and when the surgery was to occur. Joint Custody. Where one parent rules and the other is left holding the bag and the bills. Where one parent is at the mercy of the other. The ability to say no doesn’t exist. And this father didn’t even want the child before he was born. Doesn’t seem right, does it?

I’m not sure what type of research you are doing. My husband and his ex share joint legal and physical custody with equal time and for the most part that is exactly what it is. The big decisions such as school, medical care and big purchases are made jointly. They each pay for clothing and other stuff while the children are with them. We have the children starting on Monday afternoon until the next Monday and then she has them for the next week. The only parts which I do not believe are “fair” is that she picks them up two days of our week to keep from paying the sitter as much and we usually end up spending more for clothes and other things than she does. School clothes, you would think, buy both children at least 5 pairs of jeans and 7 or 8 shirts. That way they have the same amount of clothes at each home to get them through the week. Instead, she buys them 2 pair of jeans and 3 shirts and figures that our clothes will make up the difference. We normally end up with “junk” or “trashed” clothes at our house. Since she picks them up two days out of our week they change clothes at her house. On top of that, we end up buying the shoes and coats and all the extras. At times, it still bothers me.
I believe the difference in our situation and the others is that their mother was very worried about going through the actual custody trial so she settled and signed the agreement. Which then had to be signed by the judge since we had already gone through preliminary hearing and that didn’t go so well for her. It also helps that his ex was very young when they married and in essence he “raised” her, she takes his suggestions and advice about the children
This way is much easier on the children and much more fair on them also. The children do not have to choose, and are not made to feel guilty because they want to spend time with the other parent.

I have uncontested sole custody of my son. So I will only be able to speak on obervances of my husband’s experience with joint custody. For the most part it has boiled down to when they are with the ex she has control, when they’re with us we have control. Control meaning over what they do, who they see, what they eat, what they wear. She lives in another state (moved last year) and there were issues with her wanting him (us) pay her travel and hotel in order to keep her allotted nights. She put out the option of spliting the kids up. Obviously this was not something we wanted to do. We were able to work it out without the courts (after many emails and threats from her to take us to court). In essence, there must be communication between all parties, the best intrests of the children, and knowing the children’s needs are first and formost. The kids were young when she left so they don’t know any different. I do not believe this arrangement would work for my ex and I because he is irrsponsible and honestly has no desire to be held accountable for the seriousness of raising a kid. I wonder somethimes what it will be like when they are teenagers. They go to school here, what will happen when they want to go to the football game instead of driving three hours to Virginia? As it stands now we keep their activities during our time so they don’t miss out on games / competitions.

Joint, Sole, Primary, Legal… all this jargon has relatively specific meaning when refering to circumstances ordered by the court. When custody is not contested in court and the couple works up a separation agreement, the jargon is meaningless.

My ex and I didn’t fight custody in court. Our separation agreement, which we wrote together and had notarized, is all we have. As it is stated in the agreement, we share joint legal and physical custody of the children. The truth is, my ex has the kids about 80% of the time and makes 90% of the decisions in their lives. I’m left on the sideline scratching my head and feeling anguished that I’m not “allowed” to play a more meaningful role in their lives.

I don’t care what the proper title is to describe my situation. I just want 50% of my children’s time to be spent in MY life.

You do have legal rights. If you have joint legal and physical custody you can take her to court to comply. I have seen a couple of your posts. I believe your ex is the one who is threatening to move? You can contest that. You children will be impacted by the move, especially if the move interferes with your relationship with them. Don’t let her push you around. My husband’s ex used to do that with him. They have 50/50 custody. She threatened this and that, moved out of state, then tried to get him to pay her transportation and for a hotel one night a week so she could keep her “nights”. Basically we stood up to her, logically defeated her arguments and things all worked out best for the kids. They are the important ones in the situation. Do we agree with all she says and does? No, but she has a right to live as she wishes. It is the paradox of 50/50, parents pull back and forth and the kids don’t get a sense of belonging or consistancy.

I’ve been watching and involved in this whole custody/support situation for the past 5 yrs as the 2nd wife. The whole thing is bascially a mess and it seems in hearing stories and reading posts that if the man wants more custody the woman has no reason to want to give it to him because it typically means less support paid for children and to her. It took us 6 months of lawyers fees and counseling to get the ex to agree to 4 more days each month…was it worth it??? YES!!! but to get that we had to agree not to modify support.

I was awarded 50/50 physical custody and joint legal custody in my first trial, and the custody was supposed to be shifted to my ex-wife once our child entered kindergarten. I was very frustrated because much of the information that came from our custody evaluation was not brought to light in court. (The evaluator stated off the record that my ex-wife suffered from narcissistic personality disorder and a couple of other mental disorders. He said it wasn’t his job to give the court a diagnosis of the parents.)

My ex was making all of the decisions about our child herself and would ignore my opinions. I had to file for a custody modification, and (after huge legal costs) I won. Physical custody was left at 50/50, and we still have joint legal custody. Our child goes to the better of the two available schools, and we alternate weeks. While the arrangement is tough, it is in our child’s best interest; neither family is being excluded.


I’m doing research on Joint Physical and Joint Legal Custody, I was wondering if anyone out there is going through the two. And if you are, I’m curious about the Advantages and Disadvantages of both Joint Legal and Joint Physical Custody?

Thank you For your time.[:I]