Ideally, Father’s Day is a priceless opportunity for dads of all ages to connect with their kids. But in many cases, Father’s Day is a painful reminder of post-divorce separation.
(Mt Laurel, NJ) — In honor of Father’s Day, the law offices of Lynda Hinkle would like to address a common issue for the fathers: legal custody. Custody is a topic that confuses people. In New Jersey, any conversation about custody is really about two kinds of custody: legal and physical.
Legal custody is almost always joint in New Jersey, unless the parties agree otherwise or unless there is a very good reason for someone to have sole legal custody. Physical custody is usually mostly with one parent with the other parent having visitation. So joint legal custody with one parent having primary residential custody is the most common custody situation we see here in New Jersey. But what does it really mean to have “joint legal custody”?
Joint legal custody means both parents have a say in major parenting decisions like what activities a child should participate in, whether the child should have braces, what religious activities the child will attend etc.
It doesn’t mean that each parent has ‘veto power’ on all topics all the time—sometimes the parties will never agree and whatever issue they can’t agree on will be decided on by a judge. But it does mean that there should be a dialog between the parents about major decisions, and it does mean that both parents have a right to things like school records, medical records, and to be kept informed about the child’s well-being and schedule.
Needless to say, this is often a problem even when there is joint legal custody. It is easy for the primary physical custodian to dismiss their co-parent’s concerns or questions, to ‘forget’ or outright refuse to discuss problems with them. If you are having difficulty getting your co-parent to keep you in the loop about.
At the Law Offices of Lynda Hinkle, we’re committed to securing the most favorable custody arrangement possible. Call 856-227-7888 for a free consult to discuss your legal options. We strive to be your South Jersey family/divorce law firm.