A divorce is a complex process to go through and can be especially hard on children. While joint custody in a child custody case is one of the goals in a marital separation, in order to decide what is best for your child, there have to be negotiations. 

There are a few types of negotiations you can have with your spouse to make arrangements for joint custody. You can come up with an arrangement yourself, they can be with a mediator or in front of a judge but either way, you should get legal advice. This is a legal process, and in the end, you will need to follow the court’s ruling.

Informal Negotiations 

Parents can negotiate joint custody agreements with a private meeting. This is an attempt to settle all parenting issues in the child’s best interest, and if both parties can come to an agreement, you only need to finalize it with the court. Child custody is rarely agreed upon by both parties, and it can result in hard feelings and financial strain. Remembering that these negotiations are to benefit your child may help both parents make the right decisions.


A mediation is conducted by a neutral third party and is less adversarial than going to court. A mediator will explain the whole process to help determine all the joint custody issues that will need to be resolved. The goal is to work towards a fair resolution so both parents have equal access to the children. It’s a collaborative effort in a give-and-take manner, and when everything is resolved the mediator will write up an agreement to finalize in court.

Family Court 

Sometimes emotions and circumstances make an agreement unattainable without a judge. You will need legal representation when you have your day in family court. There are several factors that the court will consider when deciding what is the best interest of the child:

  • Living Situation
  • Age of child
  • Relationship with the child
  • Stability
  • Child preference
  • Support for parents/child relationship
  • Neglect or abuse

Although the process is different for each type, the end result is a written, legal agreement. This is a court-approved, binding contract that you must follow. Remember, this is all about providing the best care and access for your kids. Both parents should consider this when going for joint custody in negotiations.

Having a child custody lawyer is crucial to obtain a fair, equitable agreement for co-parenting. Westover Law has experienced family law attorneys serving families in California. They will advise and represent you during your upcoming child custody battle. Call today for more information.