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Joint Legal Custody Laws

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.

What is Joint Legal Custody?

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.

In Joint Legal Custody, can the Primary Parent Move to a Different Place with the Child?

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.

Child Unhappy with Primary Parent in Joint Legal Custody

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.

What Can be Considered as Major Medical Decisions in Joint Legal Custody?

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.

Can One Parent Object to the Primary Parent’s Decision to Modify Visitation Arrangements?

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.

Joint Legal Custody and Child Support

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.

Ask a Family Lawyer

Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 9380
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
7286322
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
characters left:
2 Family Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Family Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Ely
Counselor at Law
Satisfied Customers: 8085
Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
LawTalk
Attorney and Counselor at Law
Satisfied Customers: 6424
27+ years legal experience. I remain current in Family Law through regular continuing education.
FiveStarLaw
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 6336
25 years of experience helping people like you.

Recent Joint Legal Custody Questions

  • My son is 17, me ex and I share joint legal custody and share

    My son is 17, me ex and I share joint legal custody and share unreimbursed medical and psychotherapyexpenses equally. My ex has has tie breaking authority in the event of a disagreement.
    My ex recently placed our son in a therapeutic wilderness program which she considers to be a medical expense and will expect half of the unreimbursed expenses, including travel once it has been submitted and processed by her medical insurance. This is perhaps a little more cut and dry, regarding liability of expense on my part, although there is no language addressing such a facility in our agreement and payment liability.
    My question does lie around what my ex is doing after he completes the program. She is placing him in an extremely expensive "young adult transitional program" described by the facility itself as a "residential mentoring program". Once again my ex considers this an "unreimbursed medical and psychotherapy expense" even though it is not a residential treatment facility or therapeutic boarding school. Although there is therapy and group therapy involved I do not see it as a covered expense by our agreement. I am aware that she is going to use her tie breaking authority and place him in this facility without my support or consent. My potential fiscal liability would be over 30k, which I do not have and do not agree to.
    What are my options?
  • I have joint legal custody of my 8 year old son. His mother

    I have joint legal custody of my 8 year old son. His mother is refusing to let me see him on our court ordered scheduled days. I have filed a report with the local police and filed to go back to court.The court date will not be for months. Am I within my legal rights to pick him up from school a bit early on my scheduled day to avoid a scene at my sons school and then take him back to his mother on our scheduled day?
  • If two parents have joint legal custody but the custodial parent

    If two parents have joint legal custody but the custodial parent has the final say, if the non-custodial parent makes a legal decision without letting the custodial parent know is he then in contempt?
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