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Explanation of Joint Legal Custody

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Family walking together in park
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Explanation of Joint Legal Custody:

Joint legal custody means that both parents have the legal authority to make major decisions for the child. These include decisions regarding education, religion, and health care.

Parents should be aware, too, that legal custody is separate from physical custody. In other words, it is possible for co-parents to share legal custody but not share physical custody.

Pros of Joint Legal Custody:

  • The coparents must continue to communicate with one another in order to reach joint decisions.
  • With time, a certain degree of effectiveness can be reached between the parents as they learn to coparent collaboratively.
  • The children benefit from seeing their parents interact genuinely with one another, ideally demonstrating what it means to compromise and work through disagreements in a healthy manner.

Cons of Joint Legal Custody:

  • It is often difficult to collaborate on important decisions.
  • There are times when it is impractical to consult with one another before reaching a decision.
  • The system can, at times, be manipulated.
  • Forcing coparents to collaborate does not guarantee that they will be agreeable or demonstrate healthy communication skills.

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