What exactly is joint legal custody, and what can a parent do and cant do when you have it?

Asked almost 2 years ago - Rochester, MN

i share joint legal custody, i have sole physical custody. the mother has taken it upon herself to think she has joint physical custody and is luring the children away from my home, and calling and bothering the school and trying to set up appointments for the children without my consent. what exactly can she and cant she do? i know the legal definition of legal custody, but it doesnt really say what exactly a person can do that has it? What would need to be done to remove this other parents legal custody?

Attorney answers (2)

  1. Maury Devereau Beaulier

    Contributor Level 19

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    Answered . As you may know, there are two types of custody: Legal and Physical.

    Legal custody refers to the right of the parents to participate in important decisions in the lives of their child(ren). This specifically includes decisions related to schooling, medical care, religion, extra-curricular activities and other important events. There is a very strong presumption under Minnesota law that these responsibilities should be shared by the parties. The only time that legal custody is not shared is when the parties demonstrate a complete inability to communicate or where there has been domestic abuse.

    Physical custody is what most people think of when they hear the term custody. It refers to the primary physical residence where the child will live. There is a presumption under Minnesota law favoring sole physical custody to one parent or the other. This presumption is based upon psychological studies that have indicated that children respond better when their physical environment is consistent.

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  2. Lawrence Allen Weinreich

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Legal custody deals with making major decisions for a child. That does not include such things as bedtime when with the other parent or how much TV to watch. It does include what medical proceedures will be done and what school the child will go to. She has the right to get information from the school as they would be part of the decision making process to decide what scholl the child should go to or if extra help is needed. Setting up appointments without telling you in advance is improper. As for removing joint legal custody you would have to go back to court to change your order. Speak with a local attorney about your specific facts to see if there is enough to break the joint legal custody arrrangement..

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    This advice is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship and is a general anwer to the question posed.

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