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What does having joint legal custody mean?

On Behalf of | May 27, 2022 | Family Law |

When a divorcing couple cannot agree on how to co-parent, the court will have to step in and decide how things will go. Usually, everything is done with the best interests of the children in mind, and in most cases, the court will split custody between the parents.

Custody is not limited to the physical location of the child. It includes making major decisions that affect the child’s life, which is what legal custody is all about. When the court splits legal custody, both parents should be involved when making such decisions.

You don’t have to consult your co-parent on everything

If you have joint legal custody, you do not have to run every decision you make through your co-parent. You can make routine decisions in the child’s day-to-day life if they live with you. Likewise, you do not require your parent’s pre-approval during the child’s emergency, medical or dental treatment, although sharing such information is highly encouraged.

However, decisions about the child’s health, religion, daycare and education shall be jointly made by both parents.

Legal custody is enforceable

As part of the court-issued custody orders, legal custody is enforceable. It means that if your co-parent does not consult you before acting on certain matters as stated by court orders, you need to protect your parental rights

Your co-parent could be held in contempt of court or face other legal penalties for violating court orders. In extreme cases, the court will modify custody orders to suit the child’s best interests.

However, it is advisable to try and talk things out with your co-parent before taking anything further. It will create a positive environment for the child and avoid a public spat with your ex-spouse.