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Who gets to make decisions for my kids after the divorce?

It is no secret to Florida parents that child custody matters are some of the most complex in a divorce. Parents want to have an active role in the lives of their children, yet even the most amicable of couples may have a hard time addressing the complex legal issues that pertain to their children.

Child custody involves much more than simply deciding where your child will spend most of his or her time. It requires deciding what will be in the best interests of your children, which often means allowing them to have regular access to both parents. Parenting time is an important factor in any custody arrangement, but so is legal custody, which is the authority to make decisions on behalf of the children.

Protecting your role as a parent

Part of your job as a parent is to work to protect your children's interests. This sometimes means making important decisions on their behalf, and a divorce can change the dynamics of how parents address complex issues. Whichever parent has legal custody can make important decisions for his or her child, such as those pertaining to the following:

  • Medical treatment
  • Health care decisions
  • Education
  • Religious upbringing
  • Extracurricular activities

The right to make decisions for their children is something that many parents take for granted. Some parents do not realize that legal custody is separate from physical custody, which means that just because one parent has visitation rights or joint custody does not necessarily mean that he or she also has legal custody.

Often, one parent will retain sole legal custody while sharing physical custody with the other parent. In your situation, it may be best for your kids for you to pursue sole legal custody, or perhaps you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse agree that it is optimal to share the responsibilities of legal custody. The details of your final custody order should align with the details of your unique situation and the needs of your unique family.

Custom solutions to your custody concerns

Legal and physical custody are two issues that you must address as you work to craft the best post-divorce future for your children. When you have help and guidance, you can better pursue an outcome that allows for your kids to have continuity of lifestyle and for you to have protection of your parental rights.

Custody matters are complex, but it is possible to effectively and successfully navigate these discussions and negotiations and reach an outcome that works for every member of your family.

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