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Know The Difference Between Joint Custody & Equal Parenting Time

This comes up a lot in my practice.  People come in to see me and they tell me I want joint custody and I don't think that they realize there are two aspects to custody.  There is the legal aspect of custody and is there is the physical aspect of custody.

The legal aspect of custody relates to who's making major decisions about the children.  Normally major decisions relate to major decisions in the area of medicine education religion and personal care.  Personal care is kind of a newer thing that's come up and it relates to for example, are you going to let your kid get a tattoo or get a nose piercing or color their hair. Those are personal care decisions.   Custody relates to major decisions in those areas. Custody does not relate to that day-to-day everyday decisions that you make when the child is in your care.  For example, the kid comes over to see you and spend time with you and is feeling a little under the weather.   You want to...

Joint Custody Agreements (The Devil is in the Details)

Whether you have joint custody agreement or sole custody agreement, the information I'm going to give you is still going to help especially when drafting your parenting time agreement.

Is it a Good Idea to Enroll Your Child in Therapy If You Share Joint Custody & The Other Parent Does Not Agree To It

My answer is if you share joint custody this is not a good idea at all to go against the other parent's wishes. You need to have the consent of the other parent or a court order to do that. In some cases I have had parents make major decisions for their children that the other parent was not in agreement with and it actually caused them to lost custody of their children.

When it comes to decision making or custody it usually pertains to major decisions for the life of the children. For example mental health treatment, medical treatment, education, in some cases religion. In Arizona we have personal care decisions. Which amounts to for example can the child get their hair colored blue or a mohawk or get all kinds of piercings.

If you share joint custody with another parent then you have to discuss those categories of major decisions with that parent before making one of those major decisions. Certainly enrolling your child into some sort of mental health counseling would be a major...