How do you make decisions when you share legal custody?

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Sharing custody often means that parents conflict with one another even after their relationship ends. When one parent makes changes to parenting time arrangements, disagreements can result. Additionally, parents who share legal custody may find themselves at odds about major decisions for their children.

In California, legal custody confers the authority to make decisions to a parent. When two parents share their responsibilities for their children, they may have to share decision-making authority as well. How do you make those big parenting decisions with your ex when you don’t agree with one another?

How shared legal custody works in California?

If you have shared or joint legal custody, each parent has the right to make decisions on behalf of the children. Typically, parents get to make decisions during their parenting time. The parent with custody when a child breaks their leg will choose where they get treatment.

Sometimes, decisions have longer-lasting implications. For example, one parent might want the children to go to a private school, while the other wants to keep them in public school. Parents may need to talk with one another or communicate over a parenting app to address their personal feelings on the matter. Sometimes, co-parenting therapy or even mediation can help adults who disagree about what is best for their children to reach a workable solution.

In extreme cases, parents may need to go back to court for a custody modification that addresses the specific decision. Learning as much as you can about shared custody in California will help you be a better parent for your children when your family changes.



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