The term legal custody refers to a situation where in a parent is entrusted with certain obligations and rights to make important decisions on how they should bring up their kids and other important factors relevant to the welfare of their child. Some of these can be dental and health care, religious instructions, and proper education.
Joint legal custody
Most states like California award legal custody of a child to both the parents in disputes related to such cases, which is known as joint legal custody. Joint custody signifies that both the parents will shoulder the responsibility of their child. However, a parent may not be awarded such responsibility if the court finds out that they are unsuitable to make decisions in the best interests of the kids. Legal custody and physical custody are completely different ball games altogether. The latter is more concerned with where and which parent a kid will stay after the divorce.
There are different forms of legal custody. Usually, only one parent functions as the key caregiver in the marriage. It is applicable irrespective of whether the marriage is intact or where the parents got divorced. Examples could be to authorize in case of any type of medical exigency or make a decision at the last moment for the welfare of the child. Although the other parent is allowed by the court to participate in the decision-making process, parents should put their heads together and try to arrive at an amicable arrangement for handling the affairs of their child in a practical manner.
Why does a court award sole legal custody?
Several complications may pop up in the case of a joint custody. It may not be possible for both the parents to collaborate together and arrive at a consensus. After all, misunderstandings and arguments are not something completely unheard of. Decision-making may become next to impossible when there are vigorous arguments while settling even the simplest of issues.
The judges would like to see both the parents contributing and working together towards the best interests of the child. But when they feel that both the parents are at constant loggerheads when they have to manage the affairs of their offspring, they will make a decision that is in the best interests the kid.
The court may give sole custody to one of the parents when the other parent:
- Resides at a far-off distance.
- Is highly abusive or negligent.
- Does not make any kind of effort to spend some quality time with their friends.