Child custody goes beyond deciding which parent lives with the child. It also involves determining the parent with the power to make important decisions affecting the child’s life.
As the non-custodial parent, you still have a say in decisions that affect your child, known as legal custody.
Courts prefer an arrangement where both parents are involved in making these decisions, and in most cases, both parents share legal custody. However, having joint legal custody does not mean that your co-parent should seek your consent on everything. It only applies to decisions that will have a long-lasting impact on the child, such as their education, healthcare and religion.
Is legal custody enforceable?
Yes. All court-issued custody orders are enforceable. Therefore, if your co-parent is excluding you from major decisions surrounding the child’s life and doing things alone, they could be violating your parental rights. You could turn to the court for relief.
The court will order them to abide by the custody arrangement, and in extreme cases, the court may modify the existing custody arrangement. However, you have to show how your exclusion in making these decisions affects the child’s best interests for this to happen.
Protecting the children
Ideally, both parents should take part in raising the children. However, joint legal custody may result in power plays between the custodial and the non-custodial parent as each party tries to establish supremacy over the other. Unfortunately, it is the children who end up suffering in the end.
Therefore, you need to work together with your co-parent despite any existing differences to ensure the welfare of the children. If things don’t work out despite your attempts and your children’s well-being is at risk, you need to be aware of what you can do to protect them.