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Legal custody lets you make medical and school decisions

While going through a contentious divorce, it is almost always in your best interest to have a proactive approach toward the various decisions involved in ending your marriage, especially the ones that matter the most to you.

If you take the time to formulate an opinion and an educated expectation about the outcome of your divorce, you will be able to strategize better for handling yourself in court and negotiating with your ex about important issues. One critical custody issue that far too many Florida parents overlook is the importance of securing both physical and legal custody rights.

It is common for the courts to share physical custody between parents in a parenting plan. In other words, the children will move back and forth between houses. However, it is somewhat less common for the courts to split legal custody. As a loving parent, you should have an interest in legal custody too.

What is legal custody?

Legal custody involves the ability to make important decisions on behalf of your children. From what medical care they receive to which religious holidays they observe, legal custody is what empowers parents to make those important decisions on behalf of their kids.

Shared legal custody doesn't always work well

Even the most argumentative spouses can eventually agree that splitting time with their kids and playing a role in the lives of the children is ultimately what's best for the kids. However, the same is not necessarily true in the case of legal custody. Parents may struggle to make decisions if they share legal custody because they simply cannot reach a mutual agreement.

This is particularly true in cases where parents have different worldviews, religions or overall goals in life. For example, one parent may want their child to go to a rigorous college preparatory high school. The other may simply want their child to try out for sports. Because of those extreme discrepancies, the courts may choose to split legal custody along with physical custody, or they may award one parent decision-making authority.

Having a say in your child's life is important

Being a parent involves a lot more than just showing up for special events. Parenting also means making the hard decisions about the future and helping your child develop a clear path toward the life they want to live as an adult.

Securing legal custody of your child helps ensure that you play a role in making the most important decisions in a minor's life. In some cases, you may find that your spouse is willing to negotiate on legal custody more willingly than on physical custody. Talking about the specifics of your family circumstances with an experienced Florida attorney can help you strategize for the optimal custody outcome in your case.

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