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What if my child's other parent ignores our joint legal custody?

Sharing legal custody of a child between two parents is often a complicated and difficult experience. In many instances, one parent may use this situation to punish the other parent for personal conflicts, or simply choose to be unreasonable when it comes to compromising on child rearing issues where both parents do not agree.

Many parents who share legal custody find that it is tempting to make decisions about the child's upbringing without consulting the other parent, but this is not a wise course of action.

In joint legal custody scenarios, both parents share the responsibility and right to have input on choices about how to raise a child. This means that one parent cannot simply make choices about the child's education, diet, health care, socialization or religious practices without at least informing the other parent. Joint legal custody means that both parents share input into these issues, even if the child does not live with each parent equally.

If a parent does choose to ignore a joint legal custody order, they may find themselves on the wrong side of the court. It is very possible that a judge who hears that one parent is ignoring or directly violating the other parent's custody rights in raising the child may award the violated parent full legal or physical custody.

Raising a child is a process as beautiful as it is difficult, and often cuts to the heart of what we believe about every area of life. If you and your child's other parent differ on how to raise your child, you should work hard to find ways to compromise, even if it is very difficult. Should your child's other parent refuse to be reasonable and compromise, you can speak to an attorney about legal remedies that protect your rights as a parent.

Source: Findlaw, "Custody or Visitation Interference," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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