The laws in California favor joint physical and legal custody. What does that mean for you? It’s a good question.

Joint legal and physical custody means that both parents have the child in their care a proportion of the time and both have the right to make important decisions about their child’s life. For example, a parent with legal custody may determine where a child goes to school or what religion they study. Parents who do not have legal custody have no opportunity to make those decisions.

Is it good to have joint legal custody?

There are pros and cons to having joint legal custody. Some positives include:

  • Being on the same page with the other parent about what your child sees or does
  • Having a positive experience with co-parenting over time
  • Children often benefit from seeing their divorced parents work together. This can help teach compromising abilities and how to work through disagreements effectively

Of course, there are downsides as well. These may include:

  • Having to compromise on important decisions that you may not fully agree with
  • Impracticality. It is not always easy to consult with the other parent before making a decision.
  • Forcing a collaboration between two parents who do not work well together

Joint legal custody works best when parents are on good terms and have already demonstrated the ability to work together or at least attempt to work together. If both parents are willing to negotiate with one another and can agree to work together for the benefit of their child, then this usually works well.

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