Getting Divorced? What To Know About Legal Custody

Are you getting a divorce and need to figure out child custody? If so, you will definitely need to know how it works to have legal custody of a child. Here are some common questions that may come up during the divorce process.

What Is Legal Custody?

When you are deciding on legal custody, you are making a choice on which parents have the ability to make decisions about a child's life. This includes things such as medical decisions, where they go to school, what religion they are taught, and things of that nature. Both parents will still need to work together when they have joint legal custody of a child to make sure that they agree on these issues that define how a child is raised.

Who Gets Legal Custody?

It is common for both parents to have legal custody of a child after a divorce. However, there are situations where a parent may request that the other parent not have legal custody. This is typically done in situations where one parent would be a detriment to a child's upbringing. For example, a parent may not be of sound mind and body to make rational decisions, so the other parent seeks to have sole legal custody.

What Happens If There Is A Disagreement?

There are some issues that can be decided in the moment without consulting the other parent. These are situations where a child may be injured, and the parent they are with needs to make an immediate medical decision. 

However, there are situations regarding religion, education, and medical decisions that are not emergencies that can be difficult to make a joint decision on. If there is a disagreement between both parents, the primary physical custodian typically is the one that can make the decision. For joint custody custodial situations, specific parents will be assigned the authority to make decisions in the event of a disagreement in specific categories. For instance, one parent may be assigned to make religious decisions, and the other educational.

With that in mind, one parent cannot simply do what they please without consulting the other parent. Both parents must try to work together to come up with an agreement before a decision is made. 

As you can tell, managing the physical custody of a child is harder than it seems. That's why it helps to work with a family lawyer to help make decisions during the divorce process. Reach out to a firm such as Hand Law, P.C. to learn more.