Joint Legal Custody

The custody of a child after a divorce is a serious matter that a parent must deal with, and it is important that they understand their legal rights. So here is the joint legal custody definition: Joint legal custody is the term used to describe how both parents share the responsibility of caring for their children after a divorce as well as both parents making the important legal decisions regarding their child’s life. The major legal decisions that can be made regarding a child’s life include their education, health and dental care, emergency care, religious practices, extracurricular activities and much more. Your joint custody parenting rights is usually agreed upon by both parents independently or through the use of a parent plan. The only catch is that the agreement between the parents must be fair and every aspect of the plan must be agreed upon by both parents of the legal custody children. If there is one provision of the plan that is not agreed upon, they must resolve the issue before joint physical child custody can be granted. Once their plan is complete the couple must have it approved by a family court.

Why is Joint Legal Custody Awarded?

Joint custody primary is awarded when the judge of a family court feels that joint custody will be in the best interest of the children from the relationship. Serving the children’s best interests in all divorce cases is an explicit objective of family courts. If there is a history of neglect, abuse, or violence involved in the marriage or divorce, past or present, the courts have a responsibility to award sole legal custody physical custody of the children to the non-abusive parent. They are highly unlikely to award joint custody in situations such as this one.

Aspects of Joint Legal Custody

There are two common aspects of joint legal custody; the legal aspects of joint custody and the physical aspects of joint custody. Legal custody of joint custody involves all of the important decisions that must be made regarding the life of the children involved in the case. This is officially referred to as the power to make decisions about the child. Physical custody involves where the child will live. Even though the child will primarily live with one parent and visit with the other parent, there is still the possibility for parents to share joint custody of their children and pay joint physical custody child support.

History of Joint Legal Custody

Joint legal custody has been around in the legal system for hundreds of years even though it was even rarer than it is today. Joint legal custody is awarded in two out of every ten child custody cases today. Close to seventy percent of child custody cases result in the mother winning custody of the child while joint custody cases occur roughly twenty percent of the time. Less than ten percent of the time the father is awarded custody in a child custody case. Joint legal custody will only be awarded to the parents of children in a divorce case if the court finds that both parents having legal and physical custody of the children will greatly benefit the interests of the children. If the court feels that joint legal custody will not benefit the children then joint legal custody will not be awarded to the parents and one parent will be awarded custody over the other. All of the terms and conditions of a joint legal custody are legally binding by the joint custody forms and if they are violated the violator can be punished by law.

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