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How to overcome the challenges of shared legal custody

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | Uncategorized

Parents in Pennsylvania who divorce or separate often have difficult adjustments ahead. They have to find ways to cooperate with one another for the benefit of their children. Particularly when the divorce or separation is still fresh, it can be very difficult for parents to cooperate with one another and agree on key matters about their children.

Sharing physical custody can be a challenge at first, but most parents eventually adjust to their new family schedule. Legal custody is often more of a challenge. Just as the Pennsylvania family courts typically have parents divide time with their children, they also frequently expect them to share authority over those children.

Sharing legal custody or the right to make decisions on behalf of minor children can be very challenging for parents who have ended their relationship with each other. How can adults overcome the frustrations and challenges of shared legal custody?

With clear plans

Thorough parenting plans often include one of several provisions intended to address the challenges of shared legal custody. Sometimes parents include rules granting one adult the final authority in certain types of decisions. A parent with a traditional cultural background, for example, might request final authority over religious matters for the children.

Other times, parents may have rules requiring outside intervention when they disagree on major decisions. Agreeing to work with a counselor, pastor or mediator to resolve disagreements about the healthcare or educational choices for the children in the family could prevent disagreements from massively disrupting the co-parenting relationship.

With the right focus

If parents use their decision-making authority as a way to undermine one another or punish each other for issues related to the marriage, the whole family could suffer. It is therefore important that the adults sharing decision-making authority keep the focus on what is best for their children at all times. Maintaining a child-centric perspective can help adults minimize how much conflict they experience about parenting decisions. Reaching mutual agreements can be much easier when both adults want what is best for the children, not what would annoy each other the most.

Sometimes, disputes about legal custody do not lead to amicable resolutions. Parents sometimes need to go back to family court to protect their children or their relationship with them. As such, it’s generally a good idea to remember that seeking personalized legal guidance is always an option.