Parents want the best for their children, and to achieve this, they must make decisions suitable for their child’s needs and interests. These decisions include what school the child will attend or which extracurricular activities would serve them well.
However, for divorced or separated parents, there might be disagreements about making these decisions. So, who has the authority to make important decisions concerning the child?
Look into the legal custody
Legal custody plays an essential role in determining which of the parents gets to decide major decisions affecting their child’s life, including concerns related to health, education and overall well-being. New Jersey has two types of legal custody, joint and sole.
With joint legal custody, courts give both parents the authority to make important decisions for their child. Usually, parents reach a custody agreement specifying which aspect each would decide on or if they would decide on issues together. Having a custody agreement is beneficial, especially if parents disagree on issues, since the agreement lays down the terms and boundaries of the decision-making.
On the other hand, sole legal custody allows only one of the parents to make major life decisions for the child. The court orders this arrangement if it deems one of the parents unfit or incapable of handling important decisions involving their child or if they engage in habits that endanger the child’s welfare.
How do courts decide on the legal arrangement?
Joint legal custody is more common and preferred by courts to allow both parents to have an active role in their child’s life. As much as possible, courts give both parents the opportunity to be a part of their child’s development. However, if situations necessitate sole legal custody, the courts will order that instead.
The courts do not prefer one parent over another when making legal custody decisions. They will always choose which arrangement is in the child’s best interest.