The problem with Joint Legal Custody in New York

A man and woman talking to another person.

Joint Legal Custody refers to decision making by parents for their minor children as it relates to schools, medical and religious decisions.

So, what is the problem? Most inexperienced lawyers have in an order or agreement: joint legal custody; with no further details.

This is very problematic in the future should issues arise. Specifically, the enforceability of the term comes into question if it lacks further details.

Below are some useful examples of additional recommended details to include – so there is not additional issues down the road:

1. If either Mother or Father intend to travel outside of the state with Child for an overnight visit, he or she will provide a general itinerary of said travel arrangements.

2. As joint legal custodians neither party is to enroll or dis-enroll the Children in any school, nor are they to arrange for or discontinue educational services, medical services, counseling services, or extracurricular activities, lasting more than one week, without the express permission of the other party. If the extracurricular activities only occur weekly on one of the parents regular days, and do not entail obligations on the other parents days, then neither parent needs permission to enroll the child in said activity. Religious activities or the like shall not be encouraged or communicated with the child without the express permission of the other party.

3. The parties shall communicate directly with each other concerning the child, free of any third party interference.

4. Mother and Father shall keep each other informed of their current address and phone numbers and notify the other within 24 hours making any changes thereto. Once said change has been made, they will notify each other within 24 hours of said change. Neither party, grandparent or babysitter shall block or otherwise impede the ability of either party to send or receive telephone calls, text messages or email messages to or from the other party.

5. Each party and related grandparents of the child must give immediate notice of all emergency medical treatment, including any treatment plan, test or prescriptions that will be administered by any medical, psychological, dental or therapeutic service to Children. Each party shall be allowed to visit any child during any medical confinement.

6. All are to have reasonable phone, e-mail and Skyping contact with Child, if available, while Child is exercising parenting time with one of the other parties.

7. No parent should make any disparaging remarks about the other parent in the presence of the child.

Our firm is focused and dedicated to divorce & family law matters in CNY. Each year, we help navigate about 100 people through their divorce or family law matter. We know this time can be difficult not only emotionally but financially for clients. Our caring staff is here for you and we have the experience to guide you. Contact our staff today to get the results you deserve.

The Underwood Law Firm has years of successful trial results* but, we attempt to resolve disputes outside of the court system first, if possible. We are one of the few firms in the Syracuse area that offers free consultations on Divorce & Family Law so that everyone has an opportunity to speak with an experienced attorney about their case.

The Underwood Law Firm handles all aspects of divorce and family law including adoption, child custody, child support, and separation cases in the following areas: Syracuse, Utica, Albany, Watertown, Oswego, Binghamton; Onondaga County and Madison County, including the towns, cities and villages of: Fayetteville, Manlius, DeWitt, Morrisville, Cicero, Liverpool, East Syracuse, Syracuse, Baldwinsville, Camillus, Clay, Fabius, Elbridge, Geddes, Jordan, Lafayette, Lysander, Marcellus, Minoa, North Syracuse, Otisco, Pompey, Salina, Skaneateles, Spafford, Tully, Van Buren, Eaton, Cazenovia, Canastota, Brewerton, Solvay, Central Square, Cato, Chittenango, Oneida and many other areas.

* Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

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