After being separated for more than 18 months, "The Millers" star Will Arnett has filed for divorce from "Parks and Recreation" star Amy Poehler.
The comedic duo announced their separation in September 2012, but is just now filing for divorce. In Arnett's court filing, he's seeking joint custody of the couple's two sons, according to The Associated Press.
Celebrity divorces are pretty common, but for those couples with children, what happens when there's joint custody?
Separation v. Divorce Filing
Although a married couple may be separated, it doesn't mean that they're legally divorced. Being separated means that the couple is still married, but living apart. Only when a divorce is finalized in court does it mean that the couple is no longer legally married.
It's unclear whether Arnett and Poehler filed for a legal separation when they announced that they were separating. Although somewhat uncommon, legal separation is a court order that mandates the rights and duties of a couple while they're still married, but not living together. In a legal separation, a court can enforce spousal and child support as separation maintenance payments and marital property may be divided.
Most couples will separate, but don't seek a legal separation court order. It's important to know your separation date, because in divorce proceedings, all property acquired after the separation date will no longer be considered marital property.
In his divorce filing, Arnett is seeking joint custody of him and Poehler's kids. When parents have joint custody agreements, they usually share legal and physical custody of the kids. Under those conditions, both parents participate equally in making decisions about the kids' upbringing and welfare and split their visitation time evenly.
Since both parents will have legal custody in a joint custody agreement, this means that both parents can make long-term decisions about raising the child, including where the child goes to school, medical care, and religion. Both parents will also have physical custody of the child, which involves issues of where the child will live.
If parents can agree on the visitation and upbringing details of a joint custody agreement, a judge doesn't need to get involved. However, for parents who are having difficulty coming to an agreement, the court can help them decide what's best for the children.
Arnett filed a divorce petition in a Los Angeles Superior Court on April 8, according to The Associated Press.
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- Child Custody (FindLaw's LawBrain)