As a parent in Massachusetts who has decided divorce is the best option for you, your next task is likely going to be figuring out how you want to handle custody. Joint custody can be one option to consider, as it may hold many benefits for you and your children.

FindLaw first points out that there are two types of joint custody: legal and physical custody. Not many people consider that these are considered two separate categories of custody. You can have a custody arrangement in which parents hold joint legal custody but not joint physical custody. Some also hold both joint legal and physical custody.

Joint physical custody means that you both spend equitable amounts of time with your child. Regardless of how you divide your custody schedule, the child will end up spending a good portion of time with both parents. Joint legal custody simply means that both parents have a say in important decisions in your child’s life. This can include medical choices, schooling decisions, what religion to raise the child with, and other life-shaping factors.

However, there are some situations in which it is simply impossible for both parents to have joint physical and legal custody, even if you and your spouse may be on good terms. For example, if your spouse is on active duty in the military, they may be called away at any time without an option to refuse or reschedule. This would be disruptive to your child’s life, making joint custody a poor choice.

If you are interested in learning more about your options when it comes to custody after divorce, consider talking to an attorney with experience in handling custody matters.