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How joint legal custody can work for parents and children

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Louisiana divorced parents who have legal custody may make decisions about the religion in which the child is raised and the child's education and medical care. It is common for parents who do not share physical custody to have joint legal custody, and there are advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement.

Joint legal custody may actually strengthen a co-parenting relationship. It requires parents to learn how to communicate effectively, work through their disagreements and reach a resolution. It can be a healthy experience for children to see this process. However, one parent may use joint legal custody to insist that the other parent must comply. Just because parents share legal custody does not mean they will be able to agree. Another issue may arise if one former spouse is not actively involved in parenting and tends to check out.

However, joint legal custody can work well and be a relief for parents who have difficult decisions to make about their child's well-being. They may appreciate being able to collaborate with one another at such times. It can be difficult to measure success when it comes to joint legal custody though, and sometimes it might not be practical to consult the other parent before making a decision.

Parents may want to keep these points in mind during a divorce whether they are negotiating child custody by themselves with the help of their respective attorneys or going to court where a judge will decide. While it is better for children if parents can avoid a custody battle, if one parent feels the other is genuinely not suited for legal or physical custody and that parent is fighting for those rights, it might be necessary.

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Craig E. Gibbs, Attorney at Law
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