Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you and your ex-spouse may be looking for the custodial situation that makes time and dedication to your child “fair” between the two of you. When you enter into a joint legal custody situation, you are deciding to share the responsibilities between yourselves for the best interest of your child. But what do these situations encompass and will they work for you? And finally, what are some reasons that a judge would deny custody?
Joint Legal Custody
If you are sharing legal custody with the other spouse, you will both be responsible on the same level for many aspects of your child’s life, from their health and welfare decisions, to decisions on their education, religion, medical care, and so much more. The court only approves these situations when they know it is in the best interest of your child for them to have both of their parents making these big decisions in their lives. If they believe it is not the best decision, one parent may get sole legal custody to make all these decisions.
Joint legal custody agreements lay out many aspects for the parents to consider. It will outline both the parent’s responsibility over the child, as well as the communication and fairness that both parents should share between one another. It will also include basic things about the child that should be known, including their residence, child care arrangements, their education, religious studies, activities they participate in, and more. Financial issues will also be included.
Why Joint Custody May be Denied
Of course, there are many situations where legal custody could be denied for one parent and fall completely onto the other. This is most often seen in situations where one parent is incapable of making decisions for their child, like when there is abuse both physically to the child and substance abuse by the other parent. If a parent is mentally unstable, they may not be able to make decisions for their child, especially if this has led to suicidal acts in the past. The same can happen when one parent is incarcerated or when one parent is unable to care for their child and it has become a case of abandonment. In these cases, of course, the court will believe it is in the best interest of the child for joint custody to not exist.
The various custody situations can be confusing and, as you know, every family is different! This is why it helps to turn to a family law attorney who understands your divorce and custody issues and can help you every step of the way. We are here for you in your time of need.