Courts strongly prefer that parents make child custody arrangements together in the best interest of the child, but will appoint a health professional to assist if need be. There are two kinds of custody to be determined: legal and physical. Legal custody claims the responsibility for making important decisions pertaining to the child’s life; where they go to school, psychological counseling, educational tutoring, medical decisions etc. Physcial custody refers to where the child spends most of their time.
Parents can opt to share legal and/or physical custody, referred to as joint custody. In the case of joint legal custody they will be making decisions together. Often times, if during the marriage one parent was the primary caregiver and carried the majority of the decision-making responsibility, this will continue after the divorce, however, both parents will have a legal right to participate and it is up to them to discuss their process and make decisions together.
There is a strong preference amongst judges to order joint physical custody, guaranteeing that children will have regular contact with both parents. Shared physical custody means that the children have two parents involved in their lives and two stable homes. This does not always mean that the parents will have an exact 50/50 split but it is often times very close.