Child Custody

questions & answers

Question: My ex husband and have been divorced since 2008 we both have joint custody and the children have primarily lived with me and have had the same parenting plan in place since, however this past December my ex husband asked for a modification and the judge awarded him as the "primary residential parent" since parenting time was modified and the children are now staying with him more than me. We both still have jjoint custody. My ex husband changed the kids school with out me knowing or agreeing dose he have the right to do this? The order dosnt say he can make educational decision on his own.

Answer:

There are two types of custody that are often used interchangeably but mean very different things. Legal custody is the type of custody that gives you decision making power for your child. If you have sole legal custody of your child, you have the power to make decisions for your child without the permission or consent of the other parent. If you have joint legal custody of your child, both you and your spouse must agree on decisions affecting your child.

Physical custody on the other hand determines where your child will live. You may have sole physical custody of your child which means your child primarily lives with you or you may have joint physical custody of your child which means your child shares living time with both parents. When parents share joint legal custody over their child minor day-to-day decisions are often made by the parent with whom the child lives. Larger decisions such as where your child attends schools, religious affiliation, and medical decisions must be discussed between the two parents and a joint decision must be made. If the parties cannot agree, one parent can make the decision and the other parent can challenge the decision in court. Either parent may request in writing that the court modify a custody order. To change an existing order it must be shown that the best interests of the child are served. The request is filed with the Clerk of the Superior Court and a fee for filing is charged; however, there are limitations on requesting a modification. For example, a request may not be filed for one year from the date of the earlier order, unless there are special circumstances seriously endangering the child's physical, mental, emotional or moral health. If a form of joint custody has been ordered, a modification may be requested at any time if there is evidence that domestic violence, spousal abuse or child abuse has occurred since the date the last order was granted. In a joint custody situation, a parent must wait six months before seeking a modification if the reason for the request is that one parent has failed to obey the court's custody order. This article "Things you should know about custody and parenting time" http://www.azlawhelp.org/articles_info.cfm?sc=11&mc=1&articleid=68 has further information regarding custody issues.

QUESTIONS

  • My ex husband and have been divorced since 2008 we both have joint custody and the children have primarily lived with me and have had the same parenting plan in place since, however this past December my ex husband asked for a modification and the judge awarded him as the "primary residential parent" since parenting time was modified and the children are now staying with him more than me. We both still have jjoint custody. My ex husband changed the kids school with out me knowing or agreeing dose he have the right to do this? The order dosnt say he can make educational decision on his own.

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