Generally speaking, courts consider joint physical custody of the kids to be a good thing after divorce. Both parents may not live together, but they stay involved with the children.

That's not to say it's a perfect situation, however. There are both pros and cons, and it's important to consider each side when creating your parenting plan and custody arrangement.

The Cons

Let's start with the negatives, since courts focus so often on the positives. For one thing, children do spend more time in the car as they move back and forth between homes. The adjustment period after a divorce can also be harder, since kids have to get used to a new setting -- and perhaps two new settings. Kids may even feel stressed out about the logistics of going back and forth: packing clothes, bringing toys and leaving others, dealing with the schedule, handling changes in bedtime routines, dinner routines and things of that nature.

Despite not paying for them, children really get attached to their possessions and their personal space. Anything that infringes on that can cause conflict.

The Pros

One of the main upsides -- keeping both parents involved with the kids -- was noted above. On top of that, joint custody means the children do not think of their mother or their father as a "visitor" while feeling like the other person is the "real" parent. They will equally respect both of them. The move could also open new doors as the children explore a new neighborhood, make new friends, and get to do things with Mom or Dad that the other parent never does.

Making It Work

If you and your ex both want to stay involved with joint custody after a divorce, the key is to understand your legal rights, consider the children's rights and needs, and settle on an arrangement that best serves the entire family -- while focusing on the children.