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The advantages of sharing legal custody

Joint legal custody might be a good arrangement for some parents in Florida who are divorced even if they do not share physical custody. This can help ensure that the noncustodial parent still plays a significant part in the child's life. With legal custody, a parent has the right to make decisions on a child's religion, schooling, health care and other major issues.

An advantage of sharing legal custody is that it can actually improve the co-parenting relationship. Because the parents must communicate regularly about a variety of issues, they may learn to resolve their differences and reach agreement. In turn, it is healthy for their children to observe parents working through these difficulties. On the other hand, joint legal custody does not offer any particular formula for success, and sharing legal custody with an uncooperative parent or one with whom it is simply not possible to reach an agreement can be frustrating. Some parents may also insist that the other parent must agree with them because of the shared custody. Other parents are only intermittently involved with their children's lives, and this can make sharing legal custody difficult.

Another potentially frustrating element of sharing legal custody is that it can be difficult to measure its success. However, as children grow up, parents may appreciate being able to discuss hard decisions with one another.

Parents may opt to share physical custody as well. In most cases, it is in the child's best interests to be able to spend time with both parents. Joint legal and physical custody could be ideal for this. However, these aims can also be accomplished if one parent has visitation rights, particularly if the visitation agreement allows the parent to be involved in the child's day-to-day life.

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