Two types of custody must be accounted for in a child custody order – legal and physical custody. Physical custody determines the primary residence of a child, which is perhaps why most parents focus on it. However, legal custody equally matters
As a parent, there are vital decisions about your child that could affect their lives in the future. Things to do with your child’s education, religion and medical procedures are examples of such crucial decisions, which is what legal custody is all about.
If you share legal custody with your co-parent, they must consult you on matters that require consensus. Otherwise, it could be a violation of court orders unless it was an emergency and the child’s well-being was at risk.
Why legal custody is important
Being involved in your child’s life will strengthen the parental relationship and foster your bond with them. In addition, it is in the children’s best interests when both parents are involved in making key decisions affecting them. There is also the element of oversight in such an arrangement rather than when one parent acts alone.
Therefore, it is important to protect your place and role in the life of your child if you share the decision-making authority with your co-parent.
Safeguarding your parental rights during custody proceedings
It is worthwhile to understand how the court determines child custody in a divorce and what you can do to secure your interests. For instance, you might wish to modify the current custody plan due to recent developments in your life or the child’s, or you may want to enforce the existing court’s orders.
Learning how everything works will help you anticipate and deal with these and other issues that may come up in the future.