What is joint custody?
Joint custody or shared custody means that both parents jointly (together) make the major decisions in the child’s life. To make these joint decisions, the parents have to be able to communicate and negotiate with each other to come up with a decision that they both agree on. For this reason, joint custody often is not a good option in relationships where there is domestic violence. Minor day-to-day decisions such as bedtime or what the child will wear are up to the parent who is with the child at the time.
Joint custody does not mean that a child must live half of the time with one parent and the other half of the time with the other parent. It means that physical custody will be shared in such a way to ensure that the child has continuing contact with each parent. Usually, the court will specify with which parent the child will be primarily residing (living).1
1 NCGS § 50-13.2(b)