Joint Custody As The Rule, Not The Exception

Espousing joint custody as a favourable solution to bitter tug-of-wars in child custody battles, retired chief justice of Delhi high court AP Shah and justice RS Dalvi from the Bombay high court said that it could do wonders for the welfare of the child.

This liberal view was expressed in a seminar, ‘Voice of Voiceless Children’, organised by the family court bar association and Children in the Centre (CIC), to discuss the roadmap for addressing child access and custody cases, at Chetna College on Saturday.

“In family laws, we are almost 30 to 40 years behind. The world has gone far ahead,” said justice AP Shah. Justice Shah explained that the norm in Indian courts — to give the custody to one parent (mostly the mother) with the other parent getting visitation rights — is outdated.

Justice Dalvi explained that joint custody indicates shared physical custody of the child, or a legal custody in which the child is in close contact with both parents. The parents also make joint decisions for the child.

“The sole custody precedent works against the best interests of the child. Besides, selection of one parent increases litigation. The laws need to be amended, enabling the court to award joint custody whenever possible,” said justice Shah.


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