In general, child custody refers to a court order for care and control over the child / children. The parent who is given custody after divorce shall be responsible for the daily care of the child and for making routine everyday decisions about his or her welfare. Joint custody may also be given.
In order to give a child maximum stability, in practice, it is usually in the interests of a child for the child to live in one parent's home and to visit the other parent on a regular basis ("visiting access").
However, such visits can, and often do, extend to a number of days or even weeks during school holidays.
In reality, where the circumstances warrant, it is possible for a child to spend half of his or her time in one parent's household and half in another parent's home. Parents are encouraged to reach amicable agreement , whenever possible, to avoid making costly application to Court.
If both parents want a joint custody, where both parents together make all the important decisions regarding their child's upbringing, the Court would grant a joint custody if it can be assured that the arrangement will work.
Joint custody is now generally encouraged as it is considered good for parents to realize that they both have a responsibility towards their child and their parental duties do not cease on the breakdown of the marriage. Obviously, no matter what kind of custody is granted, a high level of agreement and cooperation between the parties is encouraged and required.