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Know the keys to making joint legal custody work

On Behalf of | Mar 29, 2024 | Family Law

Child custody is frequently a topic in dispute during a Mississippi divorce. Since children can be profoundly impacted by the end of the marriage, the court will focus on their needs and how to serve their best interests when making its determinations. One of the fundamental parts of the case is child custody.

While many people think of divorce as an extended battle between the spouses, this is not always the case – and it shouldn’t always be the case, particularly when it comes to the children. For parents who can cooperate and focus on the child’s needs, joint legal custody can be beneficial for everyone. Knowing how the law decides on joint legal custody and how to make it work is essential.

Understand how to make joint legal custody succeed

With joint legal custody, the parents will share the responsibility of caring for the child and make the decisions together. That includes all aspects of the child’s life including their health care, education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities and more. They are expected to willingly share information about the child and discuss major decisions when they are made.

Regarding the time spent with the child, each parent will have significant periods with the child and be in physical control of them. The child will have frequent contact with both parents independent of who they are staying with at the time. The child will have a primary residence with one parent.

To facilitate cooperation, parents are expected to have a workable parenting plan. For example, the child could spend time off from school with the parent they do not regularly live with. Holidays, birthdays, special occasions and summer vacation could be shared.

Physical custody refers to when the child is with a parent. That parent will make the basic decisions for the child. Legal custody refers to decision-making rights. In general, the court starts from the premise that joint physical custody is in the child’s best interests when the parents have agreed to such an arrangement. Other factors like allegations of abuse or parents having personal problems can be considered when approving a joint custody agreement.

Parents should understand the basics of joint legal custody

The primary objective should be the children’s well-being. In some instances, the parents can put their differences aside or even have a friendly post-divorce relationship and can focus on the child. For them, joint legal custody can be a worthwhile option. Still, it is imperative to know the options available in family law and ensure they reach a solution that benefits everyone.