Passion. Experience. Diligence.

What does shared legal custody mean?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2022 | Family Law

Most family court judges prefer when both parents are involved in their children’s lives after divorce. That is why you are likely to share custody unless the court determines that such an arrangement is not in the children’s best interests.

Custody goes beyond the possession of the children (physical custody). It also involves parental responsibilities and the decision-making authority of each parent, commonly known as legal custody. When you share legal custody, it means that you are both responsible for making important decisions affecting your children.

Major decisions require consultation under joint legal custody

Each parent may make decisions concerning the day-to-day care of the children when under their watch without necessarily reaching out to the other parent. However, substantial and weighty decisions require the involvement of both parents. They include decisions involving the child’s education, medical procedures, religious affiliation or other areas that may have long-term or permanent effects.

If your co-parent acts on their own in key decisions that may significantly affect your child’s life without your input, it may amount to a violation of the custody order. Unless they made such decisions in an emergency where the child was at risk, you can take action to protect your parental rights.

Custody orders are enforceable

Court-issued orders are enforceable, and you can turn to the court for appropriate action. Here, a judge will review the case before issuing further directives. Your co-parent may be held in contempt of court for disobeying its orders, or the judge may modify the custody arrangement in your favor depending on the prevailing circumstances. It’s wise to have experienced legal guidance throughout this process.