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Question about legal and physical custody.

Boston, MA |

My ex is a total nut job, a control freak. I had sole custody, legal/physical and my lawyers convinced me to give him joint legal (still have sole physical) to settle the divorce. My ex blows my kids off half the time and definitely does not want sole physical, BUT he is crazy and controlling and I am I think he might be trying for sole legal (total joke, absolutely NO grounds for him, plenty for me and I plan on going back, just not now, saving up for a lawyer) Is there any way one parent can have sole legal and the other one have sole physical? I do not think that is possible, but I want to make sure. He wants to control us, but he does not want his kids. He is a cop, he has a God complex, is controlling and nuts, BUT can lie to a judges face and is believable. he's an expert liar!!

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Attorney answers 2

Posted

It is not likely that a court would order sole physical custody to one parent and sole legal custody to another. Physical custody has to do with the day to day decisions regarding the children. Legal custody has to do with the major life decisions, such as education, medical and religious. More often than not, the court will look to grant sole physical custody to one parent and joint legal custody to each parent. If the parents cannot work together on the decisions related to education, medical and religion and this breakdown is having an impact on the health, safety and welfare of the children, than a court is more prone to award sole legal custody to one parent

Asker

Posted

Okay, now what if one parent was awarded both sole legal and sole physical in the temp orders and then at the pretrial hearing the judge said if it went to trial she would keep it the same, for all the reasons you stated above. What if the person who had sole legal and physical ahd REALLY REALLY bad lawyers and those lawyers bullied them into giving the other parent joint legal and kept sole physical, BUT the other parent has continued to make life absolutely MISERABLE and there is no way to co parent with him. The divorce has been over for two years, I have more than given it a chance, but he is vindictive and evil and purposes interferes with decisions, even ones recommended by professionals. It is impossible to co parent with him. My question is how hard would it be to get sole legal back (like I said I still have sole physical) especially since the judges never gave it back to him after awarding it to me, I stupidly was forced into giving it to him by my lawyers. (I kid you not!!!) I had read that it is next to impossible to get sole legal, but I already had it, so will that help? Thanks.

James D. Lukowiak

James D. Lukowiak

Posted

Since I was not at the pre-trial and do not know the facts before your attorney and the court, I cannot comment on what happened at the pre-trial. That being said, generally the courts understand that parties are no longer together for a reason and it can be very difficult, at best, to work together. Thus most courts will lean towards joint legal unless you can show that the breakdown is so bad that it is impacting the health, safety and welfare of the children, or that you are the victim of abuse such that the possibly of future abuse would prevent you from working together on the major life decisions of the children. Now that the matter has gone to judgment, you would have to show that since the divorce there has been a material and substantial change in circumstance regarding the issue of legal custody. If he is interfering with recommendations of professionals, depending what the issue is, there may be an argument that he is not acting in the children's' best interest and so legal custody should be changed.

Asker

Posted

He is doing exactly that. Thank you very much.

James D. Lukowiak

James D. Lukowiak

Posted

I would suggest you meet with several attorneys before you engage one to help you in changing legal custody so that you find an attorney that you are comfortable with, especially his/her strategy to attempt to reach your goal(s). Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Thanks.

Posted

I think that the Court strides to give the parents joint legal custody, absent an issue of abuse or neglect, to ensure that each has the ability to raise the child, care for the child and be involved in their everyday life.

As counsel above said, it would not make sense to award the legal responsibility to one parent and the physical responsibility to the other. The parent with the day to day care of the child (physical custody) would have to have the ability to make legal decisions. Splitting the responsibility that way would tie your hands in caring for the child.

This is not legal advice and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. You should speak to an attorney for further information.