When parents choose a custody option, it is imperative to make a decision that prioritizes the child’s best interest. Joint custody often represents this choice, as it has numerous studies from around the world and over decades supporting it as positive for children of divorce.
But there are some situations where joint custody is not the ideal option. In fact, in some situations, joint custody can do more harm than good.
Parents who cannot get along
Talking Parents discusses what may prevent a couple from opting for joint custody. First, it is important for parents to have what it takes to cooperate, collaborate and act civilly toward one another. A child will always pick up on the tension and anger between parents no matter how well they think they hide it. In some situations, parents simply cannot get along well enough to make joint custody work in the first place. In that case, it is better not to drag the child through this difficult and painful situation.
Parents who cannot be present
Both parents also need to have an active role in their child’s life. This includes maintaining close contact, which is impossible for active duty service parents and parents facing incarceration.
Parents going through addiction
On top of that, not every parent is fit to spend time with their child, such as parents facing accusations of abuse, neglect or other violent crimes. Parents struggling with addiction or going through rehabilitation may not work well in a joint custody situation, either.
Fortunately, there are other options available for such parents. It is also possible to switch to joint custody at a later date if circumstances change.