How to decide whether to share legal custody after a divorce

Joint legal custody is one option for parents in Kentucky who get a divorce. Parents who have legal custody have the right to decide about issues such as their child’s religion, health care and schooling. It is a common arrangement for divorced parents to share legal custody while only one has physical custody and the other has visitation rights.

Sharing legal custody can push parents toward resolving their co-parenting differences quicker and more effectively. It may force them to communicate more often, and their children may benefit from seeing them resolve conflicts. However, if a court grants joint legal custody or parents agree to share it, this does not guarantee they will be able to cooperate. Furthermore, if one parent tends to be manipulative, there is always a chance that parent could try to insist that joint legal custody means the other parent must always agree. Sharing legal custody is not a process that has clear benchmarks, and parents might sometimes feel discouraged about whether they are co-parenting successfully.

Problems may also arise if there is one ex-spouse who habitually checks out of parenting duties. However, when joint legal custody is working well, it can be a relief for parents to be able to turn to one another in making big decisions for their children.

There are many different configurations for custody and visitation that may work for parents and children, and parents may want to talk with their attorneys, one another and even their children about the possibilities. For example, visitation schedules could be designed that allow the child midweek visits with the parent so that parent has the opportunity to help the child with homework or join the child for after school activities. Parents may also decide that they want to share physical as well as legal custody.