Child custody matters are difficult for a court in a divorce situation. Making such decisions can have a lifelong impact on the children in the case. Courts try to be as fair as possible while always keeping what is the most favorable option for the child in mind. One option the court has is to award joint custody.
According to the Connecticut General Statutes, joint custody is the same as shared custody. A joint custody order means that parents both have decision-making rights for the children. They also both have the right to a parenting time schedule that allows the children to maintain and develop meaningful and constructive relationships with both parents. Typically, this will mean more than a standard visitation schedule of alternating weekends, holidays and the occasional weekday visit.
In awarding shared custody, the court will expect you to create a parenting plan that will allow for adequate time for the children with each parent. It should also address the future needs of the children and explain the responsibilities you each have as parents.
Do keep in mind that there are two types of custody. The court may award joint legal custody, which is decision-making rights separate from joint physical custody, which is the visitation rights. Often, the court will try to award both jointly, but it is possible to award one without the other.
The goal in every child custody case is that the court will award joint custody. The judge must presume that is the most favorable scenario in a case until he or she sees evidence indicating otherwise.
Unless there is an agreement between you and your former spouse to forego shared custody, the court will typically try to move in this direction. What this means for you is that if a judge must decide custody of your children, it is highly likely you will share custody with your former spouse.