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What happens when parties sharing legal custody don’t agree on Parenting decisions?

Most orders regarding custody allow the parents joint legal custody.  There are some cases where it is not in the child’s best interest for one or both parents to have legal custody.  Some of these situations are when there is abandonment or a history of domestic violence or drug or alcohol abuse.  However, in most cases, parents will have joint legal custody and therefore share decision-making responsibility.  This becomes hard when parents don’t get along with each other.

Clients sometimes wonder what constitutes a major decision for the minor child.  Ideally, the custody agreement will provide guidance to what is considered a major decision.  This may include school enrollment, medical care, participation in extracurricular activities and possibly religious upbringing. 

 Problems arise when the parties cannot agree on major parenting decisions.  For example, one party might want the child to go to a private school and the other might want them to go to public school. Or one party might want the child to get a COVID vaccine, and the other doesn’t. If they are not able to come to an agreement, a motion can be filed with the court to decide what is in the best interest of the child. 

If you have a parenting decision that can’t get resolved with the other parent, contact our office to set up a consultation so that we can talk about the steps you’ll need to take to get the outcome you’re hoping for.