There could be many issues that arise once a court orders joint legal custody of the child to the parents. These issues could be big or small, but it is often difficult for parents to take decisions on their own. Joint legal custody has many legal details and technicalities which people may not be familiar with. Often, parents have questions about the joint legal custody rights and laws. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer frequently answer joint legal custody questions and provide legal insights, information and their Expert opinion that may help you sort out your issues affordably and quickly. Given below are some of the top joint legal custody questions that have been answered by Family Lawyers on JustAnswer.
When a couple gets separated or divorced any of the following may happen: either one of them is granted custody of the children, they both may be granted joint physical custody of the children, or they both may be granted joint legal custody of the children. Joint legal custody means that both parents have legal custody of the child with one of them being the primary parent. Joint legal custody usually gives both the parents equal rights to take decisions about the child’s life, like schooling, religion, health care, extracurricular activities, day care arrangements and out of country travel. Joint legal custody is usually awarded to the parents only if it is found to be in the best interest of the child. Ask Family Lawyers on JustAnswer about any specific joint legal custody laws and rights that you need clarifications about.
When joint legal custody of children is granted, one of the parents is usually made the primary parent of the child. In a situation where the primary parent has to move to a different place with the child, he/she may do so by filing a petition for a move away order and visitation. The primary parent may explain the reason for moving away and convince the court that the idea is not to alienate the child from the other parent. A copy of these papers may be sent to the other parent. The court will then take a decision based on the best interest of the child.
The joint legal custody law entails the child to live with the primary parent most of the time. In a situation where the child is unhappy with the primary parent and does not want to stay with him/her anymore, the child may apply for emancipation or formal change of custody. Either of the petitions may take three to six months to finalize. However, if the child chooses emancipation, then the current primary parent may be free from paying for the child’s expenses.
When a court grants joint legal custody of a child to the parents, it means that they have equal rights to take major decisions in the child’s life. These decisions also include medical decisions. In many cases, parents are confused as to which medical decisions are considered major. Medical decisions that require the consent of both the parents may include decisions like surgery, a debate if the medical procedure is necessary or a decision to change doctors. However, if the child requires counseling and needs to be taken to a counselor, it may not be considered medical treatment in most cases and hence not a major medical decision.
In most cases, joint legal custody gives visitation rights to one of the parents. The time for visitation is usually decided after agreement from both parents. However, in some cases it may happen that the parents by mutual consent agree to let the child be with the non-custodial parent for a longer period of time. If for some reason, the primary parent decides to modify this arrangement, the non-custodial parent cannot refuse or object in most cases, unless the court order allows him/her to do so. If the parent wants to extend his/her visitation time, he/she can do so by filing a petition in court to modify the visitation orders.
In joint legal custody cases, one parent is usually made the primary parent and the other parent may have to pay child support. The child support should be paid by the parent and failure to do so can lead to punishment. In some cases, even where the primary parent and the child may be out of country for a period of time, the other parent is required to pay child support and cannot refuse to do so. In a situation where the child is 18 years or older and is not staying with the primary parent, the other parent may either give the child support to the child or to the relatives with whom the child is staying.
It can get difficult for parents to understand or know all the finer legal details of joint legal custody. Sometimes they may be unaware of their rights. It is always better to consult an Expert about joint legal custody issues than try and solve them on your own. Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can answer your questions on different issues about joint legal custody, child support, divorce or legal separation.
MY husband has a son with a previous marriage. Last July they got a divorced and agreed for joint legal custody for my step son. My husband was the Petitioner and his ex wife the Respondent. My husband is required to provide medical and dental insurance coverage for our son, which he does. He is responsible for 60% of all non insured medical and dental expenses and the mother for 40% of all non-insured medical and dental expenses for the child. My husband is responsible for 60% of each parenting time related travel expenses and his ex wife has 40%. She has 3 other children to look after so we decided to take care of his education and she was okay with it. we didn't discuss what school just yet because we were still browsing around and afterwards we told her we had enrolled him at a school 2 blocks away from our home. Since the parenting visitation had to be equal as possible. One having 4 days one week and the other 3 days and if possible rotating that, It was not possible for her because of the distance of where we lived and the school and where she lived. so it was decided within us three that we would keep him 5 days of the week and she would keep him on the weekends, his holiday breaks and summer. Since she wasn't reliable for taking the child to school for X amount of reasons we said we would be okay with taking care of the school expenses and the taking and drop off of the child. WE had done it before the previous year for pre-school but there were many conflicts because she would not take him to school. As for tax purpose it was ruled for each parent to take turns every other year. After a year my husband and I realized it would be best if we modified the child's custody since we had seen that in case of anything happening in the future the reality was that he lived with us more than the 50% of time than her and it would not be fair to have her file him as her dependent since we had contributed way more than she did. WE were about to do the paper work for the modifications when the para legal asked us if we wanted to either have her sign the papers stating she agreed with the changes we were making or if we wanted to serve her if she were not to agree. We then spoke with her and she has now decided to take us to court and file for sole custody of the child. She sates that she will fight the case and win because she will tell the judge that we only granted her 8 days out of the month to see the child and that we had decided to put the child at a school close to our home where she would not be able to take him or drop him off and blame us for her not being there half of the time. I just want to clarify that from the beginning she wasn't really around in the child's life. she would come in and leave and my husband and his family were the ones that raised him. it wasn't until her 3rd child where she settled down and would see the child a bit more but yet not often. until last year that they decided to do joint custody. We want to know if we should pursue getting a lawyer instead of doing the paper work through the para legal. As we stand now, is there any chance she can win him over us and get sole custody without having proof of her contributing in the child's life? Also, Would My husband and I be able to continue having that joint custody between us and her and do the modifications to change the visitation to being more days with us and being able to claim him for taxes every year? Thank you.
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