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Readers Respond: What Are the Biggest Challenges to Making Joint Custody Work?

Responses: 88

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Sharing joint physical custody, also known as "shared parenting," "shared custody," or "dual residence," can be quite challenging to negotiate and manage. Share the biggest joint custody challenges you've faced so far, and how you've managed to resolve those issues in order to make joint custody work more effectively for you and your family. Share Your Insight

Stress

I'm 15. My parents have joint custody over me and it sucks. I'm legal supposed to spend every weekend, half the holidays and 43 days of the summer with my dad. It has made me a reclusive person and I am left with few friends. I love my dad and I would despise my mom if I'd never gotten to know him, but there are better ways to have a relationship. I spend weeks stressing over my next visit and I can barely talk to him on the phone. Take it from someone who's living it, most of the time joint custody isn't worth the stress. Also with my parents not agreeing on much I have to change who I am for who I'm with because there's no just being me.
—Guest Peyton

To Do or Not to Do is My Question...

I lived with my son's father from June 2011 to May 2013. We've been broken up since September 2012. He has two other kids that he has custody of, only because the mother refused to got to court. Our son is 18 months old and has to go back an forth from Kentucky to Ohio. In Ohio the mother rules over the father. I have my own apartment (Section 8) and am working to get a job, but I receive food assistance and cash assistance. The father does nothing for him except watches him when he has to because his 3-year-old is going through chemo. I really only send him to Kentucky for the grandmother and other family members. I don't want to send him anymore once he comes back. I have called to check on him numerous times and his father is still in bed at 12 or 2 pm in the afternoon. He is also a pothead and smokes all the time even in front of the children. He also snorts pills. I am trying to better my life for my son. Would I have a fighting chance at full custody? I don't want to take the risk and lose my baby.
—Guest Karmel

More Time Less Child Support

I have to disagree with that -- now more then ever fathers don't care about that. They just want equal time with their kids. When are people going to stop with the money aspect and look at what is best for the child? It is unconstitutional for the government to intervene in the family core unless a parent is deemed unfit. And who ever said a child was better fit with the mother? Please stop the excuse of child support. I am a father of three. And no one has the right to tell me when I can or can not see my children. I have even told a family court judge, "Give me more time and I will pay more child support." He did not know what to say! A father and a mother have equal rights to see and be a part of there children's lives. Regardless. And no one has the right to take that away. You don't raise my kids -- I do. And unless I am proven to be unfit, or unless you're going to raise my kids, then stay out of it. Everyone thinks they know whats' best for everyone else's kids, but they don't!
—Guest gordon cloud

Coparenting Can be Hell

I have 2 children now ages 5 and 8, and have done joint custody with my ex husband for 3 1/2 years. I have been in co-parenting hell. I would never recommend joint custody, unless your ex and you get along extremely well, and you trust them 100% to communicate properly, and for both of you to agree on ALL child related decisions, and for them to not ever manipulate the situation . It has been incredibly challenging, stressful, and painful for me. Ask yourself this : "If you didnt/couldn't communicate or agree on things properly in your marriage, do you think you can do it after a divorce with the kids?" In my case, my ex is very self absorbed, and makes decisions constantly without asking me, refuses to communicate or respond to emails and texts, hides his income so he hasn't paid half the medical expenses, yet takes the kids on trips and my daughter is now calling her Step Mom "Mommy" because they are home all day with her, when I work full time. I wish my kids had 1 stable home.
—Guest Michelle

Custody

My ex wants joint custody of my kids. My daughter has seen him maybe 10 times in two years, and my son cries if i try and leave him alone with him. I have never got child support from him nor do i want it. i just want my kids to be safe. and not fear that if i let him see them he will take them and i will never see them again. as he has threatend many times.
—Guest mommy of 2

Drugs

My wife and i have been separated for about 6 mos. We were only married a year and we have a two year old daughter. Recently my wife was arrested for dui and drug possession. We both have a history with drug addiction and were in recovery. I am still clean and have built a stable lifestyle for my family. My wife on the other hand has done just the opposite. She has admitted to selling drugs, and drinking and is involved with a "questionable" individual, he was also arrested with her. She is being evicted soon and plans to move my daughter god knows where. What i want is joint custody ( i do not want her excluded from my daughters life) but i would like physical custody. Does anyone know how to go about this in Florida. The other problem is neither of us can afford council and have yet to even file for divorce.
—ronb0630

You Might Disagree

First off, I am a single parent who had a child at the young age of seventeen. At first his father wanted to tell me what i could and could not do, and because of my age I could not even attempt a custody case for my son. The laws since have changed but the outcome has not. My sons father never saw him unless some twitch got him into wanting to see me again. When he was 5 i moved out of state and when he was 12 his father informed him over the internet to move home or he would not speak to him again. My son did not speak to him for about 4 years. Even now as a father himself he understands what i went through. He still barely talks with his father by choice. Now my son is going through what i prayed he would not have to. People get to know the person your sleeping with. I spent years in your shoes because of my own stupidity now if only we can teach our children to not make out mistakes but i know that wont happen. Children do best with 2 parents but only if both are truly willing!
—Guest venting

Loser Dad & Line Crossing Grandparents

I have an 8 year old son. His dad and I were never in a relationship.When I told him I was pregnant he threatened me saying that if I didn't get an abortion then he was going to hurt me! I told him from the beginning that I didn't want anything from him! He was fine with that and That was the last time I talked to him up until my son was 6 months old. I ran into this guy's father shortly after my son turned 6 months old. That's when hell started!! I ended up getting served court papers because this guy heard from his father that my son looked exactly like him..he was now seeking full custody of my son!! The courts granted him joint custody. I am required to hand my son over to this guy every other weekend and half a day on every holiday. He still to this day has nothing to do with my son other than picking him up and dropping him off at his parents house for his entire visitation! His mom (son's grandmother) crosses every boundary and even told my son to call her mom!! I'm at a loss..
—Guest Frustrated Beyond Words

Ms. Vicki

I am helping a friend who is trying to co-parent with a woman who is to say the least "monster mom" and only wants child support from Dad. She makes choices in an attempt to hurt Dad and she never recognizes that she is hurting her own son in the process. The child is 3 years and will be 4 years July 12. He is being used as a pawn by his mother and in her game playing she has refused to allow Dad to come to his dedication. She has hidden a whole soccer season from Dad, registered him in two different preschool programs without informing him prior to doing so. They share joint legal and physical custody. She monitors every phone call and Skype visit. She stands off camera and prompts him with signals and you can see it in his face. He looks to his mother after everything Dad says during their visits and once has said can I tell Dad mommy. When she was asked politely to leave them alone for their visit she stated in an angry voice "do not tell me what to do in my own home." Mom is nuts.
—Guest Vicki

Dad Wants To Ruin Realtionship

My son's father won't allow child to go to school where I live, even though I am primary residence parent. The father thinks that we can enroll him in two different school districts. I have been more than nice about parenting time. Do I put my foot down?
—Guest itscomplicated

Joint Custody Is A Myth

Never accept the guardian at item the other attorney suggests. They are lower quality attorneys who are hired guns of better divorce attorneys. check out the guardian at item first. If your attorney will not voice your objection to the court appointment of a guardian at item before you have a chance to check their background, let him go on the spot and find another attorney. Remember the guardian at item is your child's attorney, do they not deserve the best?
—gregoryl123

People

I am a father of two and I have shared physical and legal custody of both children. Every other week the children reside with me . This process has been effective for nearly six months and has worked yet their mother has me in court because she wishes to take full physical custody. This is bewildering to me because the weeks that the children are in her care they aren't even with her. My question is "whats her motive?"...
—Guest 146th of Prophethood

Can't Understand Why

I live in north Carolina the courts here awarded me and my sons father joint custody. He had a lawyer and i couldn't afford to hire on well here is my situation the judge awarded him joint custody every other week but...he is an over the road truck driver!! He is not even home till the weekends. So when my son is not here he is at his aunts. His dad does not have to pay child support cause by the court order i have him half a year and so does he unless i prove otherwise in court which cost money. The entire system is messed up and only works for those who have money.
—Guest crystal

Joint Custody Frustrations

I'm a single father who only sees his son every weekend or every other weekend and it was going very very well for four years. Now my son is five and there's more and more drama, arguments, and just her trying to make it hard for me... labeling me and judging and insulting me through texts. All the while, all that matters to me is my son! He and I get along and have no problems. But things like her new husband making my son call him "Dad," and making sure I knew when he started to... I have so many questions but nobody to talk to. Frustration of epic proportions and I need answers... Anybody?
—Guest Patrick

Judges Are Strangers; They Don't Know Us

The law is messed up! Don't go pro se or represent yourself. The court thinks joint custody means likely the need for no public assistance. They want to make us poor by making us obtain lawyers. They have these guidelines that benefit them. How do you think judges and lawyers make money? It's like a game of stalling to make much money as possible in the judicial system.
—Guest aww

Share Your Insight

What Are the Biggest Challenges to Making Joint Custody Work?

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