Divorce child custody is a reference to who of the parents has the legal decision power in the life of the children. Being parents in a seperation process, this may well be the main concern.
Divorce child custody has nothing to do with where the children live.
Be very aware that custody after divorce only refers to the decision-making authority and has nothing to do with access to time or where the children live. That is a totally different matter, also to be arranged separately.
Shared custody or joint custody is an option when the separated parents agree on most of the important decisions regarding their children and divorce and trust each other to do the right thing. Both separated parents legally have an equal say.
They either reach decisions together or consent to decisions reached by the other party. The joint divorce child custody often causes less conflict between the parents and more involvement by them. For the children this is the most harmonious relationship possible and it will make it easier for them to deal with the new situation.
The joint divorce child custody can be facilitated by a mediator the first period of time.
The new concept of parallel parenting has been mentioned in recent social science literature. In this form of joint custody the most important decisions are already in place via for instance mediation and a court order. However, both parents have decision-making authority on the rest of the activities while and when the children are under their care.
In the case that there is a history of moderate parental conflict, fear for abuse, violence, drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness or poor judgment, sole custody could be the answer.
The aim is to limit the risk in the life of the children. The sole custody parent has the legal unilateral decision-making authority. This does not include the issues of access unless access decisions are specifically included within the span of decision-making authority.
It makes sense that children adjust and develop best when both parents are part of their lives in a meaningful way. Restrictions on the role of the parents may affect the well-being of the children. However, the development of the children and their well-being should be central and if needed for a balanced live, sole custody could be the best solution.