Archive | Joint Custody

Parents with Joint Legal Custody Must Communicate and Cooperate on Educational, Medical and Religious Issues

What Joint Custody in Frederick Maryland is Not

What Joint Custody is Not

Joint legal custody in my experience, when it works, is a painless process almost like breathing.  You think about it when you need to but most of the time you don’t even think about it. Let’s review each area of legal custody and see just how narrow legal custody issues can be.

Religious upbringing.  It’s a sad fact that many of the bloodiest wars have been waged in the name of religion.  This is likewise true in the area of religious upbringing, as it relates to joint legal custody.

People with little or no religious orientation virtually never have disagreements in this area for obvious reasons.  In cases where one parent has a stronger religious orientation than the other, there are rarely problems.  While religious upbringing is important to one parent, it is not a “hill to die on” for the other parent.

The problems in this area tend to emerge where two parents religious orientation: are strongly divergent from one another.  Take for example Muslims vs Christians, born again Christians vs Satanist, that sort of thing.  When this happens I am often convinced that one parent’s conviction in favor of the religion in question is made all the more so if it enrages the other parent.

Educational issues.

In my experience, rarely has a true dispute as to educational issues arisen in the strictest of contexts.  When disputes regarding education do emerge, they are almost always linked to the medical and/or religious tenets of legal custody.

Take for example the ubiquitous ADHD issue. Sending the child in question to a private school and/or treating the condition with medication are potential solutions to the problem where parents disagree. To that extent, I do not see it as a purely educational dispute.

Occasionally there is a disagreement about private school.  Yet that is almost universally resolved by a simple principal.  Whomever believes private school is important, must be prepared to pay for same.

Medical issues.  This is definitely the area of legal custody which is most commonly a source of contention.  Yet the subject truly includes more heat than light when we identify how narrowly the medical issues present themselves.

If the child gets sick or injured while with either parent he or she may take immediate action irrespective of that parents legal custody status.  Consequently, It seems to me that the only significant medical issues which need to be broached in a joint legal custody arrangement for a healthy child are braces and ADHD.

I have had several other chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, be a subject of dispute in the legal custody context.  However, parents are usually of like mind on those types of conditions. Typically  both parents want the best possible care they can afford and the most aggressive approach to treatment that the medical professionals recommend.

Tim Conlon, Esquire for The Custody Place

OUR PHONES ARE ANSWERED 24/7

CALL US NOW AT 301-865-1101

The Custody Place

19 NORTH COURT STREET FREDERICK MARYLAND 21701

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Joint Physical Custody in Frederick Maryland

Joint Physical Custody: 

Neither parent has the child for less than 128 overnights

 

Custody Schedule: Even with joint physical custody the schedule is different in each case.

Physical custody is an issue of where the child(ren) reside and with whom.  While the vast majority of divorced and single parents share joint “legal” custody, the vast majority of parents do not have joint physical custody.  The reason so few parents have joint physical custody is often not just a legal question.  Having more than one physical home can be a challenge even for adults.

A judge I once worked for would always ask the parents if they could change their home every few days as a test of their commitment for a joint physical custody arrangement. If they demonstrated to him they would be able to do it ; he would consider a joint physical custody order.

Obviously a true joint custody arrangement requires AT LEAST a basic ability to communicate and agree on issues regarding the children.

Issues by example ar

  • homework,
  • school bags
  • emergency cards
  • daycare
  • aftercare
  • clothing
  • diet
  • medicine
  • extracurricular activities etc.

Once it is clear the parties can have the requisite desire and ability to communicate and cooperate and that they agree upon the principle of joint  physical custody then more practical issues come into play.

Some of the more common practical issues involved in 50/50 physical custody are: accommodations at the respective homes, bus and other school transportation, work schedules, school schedules, the distance between the households, involvement of relatives like grandparents and new spouses or significant others.  I have had many clients move  just so that they were of a sufficient proximity between the schools and households.  I have had clients modify their work hours to permit joint physical custody and I have seen countless parents work out creative solutions to the challenges that surround joint physical custody.

I have previously described that “legal” custody is a “catch 22” that the courts will virtually never compel the parties to exercise. In contrast, the courts will often issue decisions of joint physical custody breaking an impasse on questions such as days, exchange times and vacations.  

It should also be noted that very, very few parents with joint physical custody swap the children on a week by week basis and even fewer swap on a daily basis.  Generally the  children are not exchanged more often than twice a week .  Weekly swaps are not uncommon during academic breaks such as the summer.

I know of a case where the mother moved from the family home in Frederick Maryland to Georgia.  The father remained here in Frederick and the parties met in North Carolina.  That is unusual but demonstrates how the court can make square pegs fit in round holes during the summer vacation.

 

Divorce Attorneys in Frederick Maryland

The Custody Place
301 865-1101

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Physical Custody in Frederick Maryland

How Lawyers & Judges Determine Joint Physical Custody in Frederick Maryland

 

Physical custody is an issue of where the child(ren) reside and with whom. While the vast majority of divorced and single parents share joint “legal” custody, most divorced parents do not have joint physical custody.

The reason so few parents have joint physical custody is often not just a legal question. Having more than one physical home can be a challenge even for adults

A judge I once worked for would always ask the parents if they could change their home every few days as a test of their commitment for a joint physical custody arrangement. If they demonstrated to him they would be able to do it ; he would consider a joint physical custody order.

Obviously a true joint custody arrangement requires AT LEAST a basic ability to communicate and agree on issues regarding the children. Issues by example are homework, school bags, emergency cards, daycare, aftercare, clothing, diet, medicine, extracurricular activities etc. Once it is clear the parties can have the requisite desire and ability to communicate and cooperate and that they agree upon the principle of joint physical custody then more practical issues come into play.

Some of the more common practical issues involved in 50/50 physical custody are: accommodations at the respective homes, bus and other school transportation, work schedules, school schedules, the distance between the households, involvement of relatives like grandparents and new spouses or significant others. I have had many clients move just so that they were of a sufficient proximity between the schools and households.

I have had clients modify their work hours to permit joint physical custody and I have seen countless parents work out creative solutions to the challenges that surround joint physical custody.

I have previously described that “legal” custody is a “catch 22” that the courts will virtually never compel the parties to exercise. In contrast, the courts will often issue decisions of joint physical custody breaking an impasse on questions such as days, exchange times and vacations. It should also be noted that very, very few parents with joint physical custody swap the children on a week by week basis and even fewer swap on a daily basis. Generally the children are not exchanged more often than twice a week . Weekly swaps are not uncommon during academic breaks such as the summer.

Family Law in Frederick Maryland

Timothy Conlon

OUR PHONES ARE ANSWERED 24/7

CALL US NOW AT 301-865-1101

The Custody Place

19 NORTH COURT STREET
FREDERICK MARYLAND 21701

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Is Joint Legal Custody Right for Me?

Legal Custody – Joint Custody in Frederick Maryland

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody in Frederick Maryland

I sometimes liken the difference between legal and physical custody to
the ownership of a car. If you buy a nice new car and finance the
vehicle, you can be said to have the “physical custody” of that car.

The “legal custody” of the car is it’s title.
You are on that title as an owner, but so is the finance company.

Day in and day out you make physical decisions about the car. Without the need to consult with the finance company. Some not so important, like what kind of gasoline you use and some more important like changes to its engine or its appearance.

Nevertheless, at the end of the day however you must get the joint agreement of the finance company to sell the car or make other major decisions which effect the car.

While enjoying a great deal of autonomy in physical considerations for your child, the person with joint legal custody does not have the final say in issues of religion, education and medical care.

While joint legal custody is a great privilege and a serious responsibility in practical life, it may not be as easy to apply and define. Take for example, a boy who is in the joint legal custody of both parents.

While on vacation with his father in Disney World, the boy breaks a finger:

  1. Father took the boy out of State and did not get the Mother’s permission
  2. The father was allowed to pick whatever doctor or hospital for treatment in Florida and to decide such questions as stitches, etc.

While these parents stood on equal legal footing and had joint legal custody, none of the issues required agreement of the parents, even in these serious circumstances. Now for example, consider a girl who is

in the joint custody of her parents. She is at the mall with her mother and wants to get her ears pierced. The mother is required to get the agreement of Father before she gets her daughter’s earspierced.

I use these examples to demonstrate as follows: If you believe that the most important issue in the foregoing examples are what each parent was required to do, then you are not good candidates for joint
legal custody. Parents who are a good fit for legal custody do not just communicate about the required circumstances.

Joint custody parents believe they should communicate (no matter how briefly) in reaching a shared and mutual decision of what is best for the children.

My opinion should not be taken to mean that parents who have joint custody need to be friends or even to like each other. It means that if communicating and attempting to reach a mutual decision comes naturally in spite of any animosity you feel toward the other parent, then you are good candidates for joint legal custody.

The last issue about joint legal custody is its “catch-22″ quality. If you do not agree that you should have joint legal custody, the judge cannot order joint legal custody. The idea is that by leaving it to a judge to decide means you cannot have it because if you could have it, you would not be fighting about it in the first place.

Legal Custody Frederick Maryland

OUR PHONES ARE ANSWERED 24/7

CALL US NOW AT 301-865-1101

The Custody Place

19 NORTH COURT STREET
FREDERICK MARYLAND 21701

 

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