Given that the rate of divorce rate in Missouri is above the national average, Missourians are likely aware of the anguish that comes with having to endure custody battles. On the one hand, children often find it emotionally trying to see their parents fight while feeling uncertain about what the future holds for them. On the other hand, not only may parents be terrified that they could end up missing out on a big part of their children’s lives, but they might also be confounded by the amount of legal jargon thrown around.
One of the most important terms to be aware of is joint legal custody, which is different than joint physical custody. Simply put, joint legal custody allows both parents to make pivotal decisions on behalf of the children, such as where the kids will learn, what religion they will be raised into and what medical solutions they will be offered in case of an emergency.
Naturally, joint legal custody has its positives and negatives depending on the parents and whether they are willing to compromise with one another. The ideal situation is when both parents are reliable, communicate well and have the capacity to cooperate with each other. This makes it possible for the parents to arrive at the best decisions for the children and for the children to learn how two adults can cooperate for the greater good. Furthermore, it is imperative that neither parent holds a grudge against the other; otherwise, the entire dynamic may become toxic, harming everyone involved.
It should be noted that being granted joint legal custody is not a guarantee that both parents will receive joint physical custody. In other words, a parent may be granted the right to make big decisions for their children yet only granted visitation rights. Consequently, parents about to embark on a divorce may wish to consult an experienced lawyer for help navigating through these turbulent times.