April 10, 2013 By Paul Wallin

Child custody is generally the most contested issue in family law cases. This is generally due to the fact that child custody is a highly emotional area of law since it involves your children and your parental rights. As a parent going through a child custody dispute, it is crucial to fully understand your legal rights and to have an attorney who you can trust to fight for you.

Definition of Joint Legal Custody

Under Family Code Section 3003, “joint legal custody” means that you and the other parent of your child shall share the right and responsibility to make the decisions relating to the health, education, and welfare of your child. Additionally, when making an order for joint legal custody, the court can specify the circumstances under which consent is required by both you and the other parent in order to exercise legal control of your child. The court can also specify the consequences of the failure to obtain mutual consent under these circumstances.

Specific Joint Legal Custody Orders

If the court orders that you and the other parent shall have joint legal custody of your child, you and the other parent will have to share in the responsibility in making certain decisions relating to your child. In exercising joint legal custody, you and the other parent will equally share in the responsibility and confer with each other, in good faith, on matters concerning your child’s health, education, and welfare.

Additionally, the court, as part of the joint legal custody order, can request that you and the other parent confer with each other in making decisions on the following matters that affect your children:

• Enrolling or leaving your child in a particular private or public school or daycare center;

• Your child’s participation in particular religious activities or institutions;

• Beginning or ending of your child’s psychiatric, psychological, or other mental health counseling or therapy;

• Selecting your child’s doctor, dentist, or other health professional (except in emergency situations);

• Your child’s participation in extracurricular activities; and

• The child traveling out-of-country or out-of-state.

It is also important for you to know that in all other matters not requiring mutual consent by both parents, each parent may act alone, as long as the action does not conflict with any orders concerning the physical custody of your child.

Consequences of Not Obtaining Consent from the Other Parent

If you or the other parent fail to obtain the required consent from the other parent, you or the other parent may be subject to civil and criminal penalties. Civil penalties often include sanctions or fines. Common criminal penalties include fines, jail time, and a record of your failure to obtain consent from the other parent, which may be harmful for you in future court hearings regarding your child. Moreover, the court may change the legal and physical custody of your child if you or the other parent does not comply with the joint legal custody orders.

How We Can Help You

Child custody matters are complex and often highly disputed. As a parent, you want to make sure that the court orders have your child’s best interest in mind and that the terms of the orders are fair to you. You need the skilled and reliable child custody attorneys of Wallin & Klarich on your side. We can help you today! With over 30 years of experience successfully helping clients obtain the best child custody orders for their cases, we can help you with your child custody dispute today!

We have offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, and Sherman Oaks and can help you now. Call us today at (888) 749-7428. We will be there when you call.

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