Child Custody, Visitation and Support
Under most circumstances, shared custody is awarded by the court system. Child custody is decided by a judge who considers the sex and age of the child, and the ability of each parent to care for that child. Ages 14 and up may normally choose which parent to live with. Ages 11-13 may speak to the judge, but the judge does not have to follow the child’s wishes.
Joint legal custody is where both parents have equal responsibilities for major decisions regarding the child. Joint physical custody is where there is equal time/contact with both parents. The court can award both, or either one. The parties should try to agree, or the court will have to decide who has the right to make the decisions.