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How Is Child Custody Decided?

How is child custody decided? The parent who is awarded custody has the responsibility and authority to make all fundamental decisions regarding the child’s welfare. Examples of fundamental decisions, include, but are not limited to issues such as religion, education, and non-emergency medical treatment. You can be awarded either sole or joint custody. If you are awarded sole custody, you have the sole authority to make fundamental decisions for your child, such as what school your child will attend, who your child’s treating physician will be, and whether your child should undergo elective treatments or surgeries. However, even if you are awarded sole custody, your spouse still has the authority and responsibility to make the day-to-day decisions for your child when he or she is in your spouse’s care. If you are awarded joint custody, you and your spouse will share the decision-making authority. This necessitates that you and your spouse are able to communicate and agree upon fundamental decisions regarding your children. You and your spouse might be good candidates for joint custody if you share a mutual respect for each other, you are able to communicate effectively, and you are able to cooperate and work together in a co-parenting relationship. If you share joint custody and are unable to reach agreement on a major decision, such as a child’s school or childcare provider, you and your former spouse may be required to return to mediation or to court to resolve your dispute. This can lead to delays in decision-making for matters important to your child, increased conflict, and legal fees.

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