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What does joint legal custody entitle me to (specifically, school information)?

Baltimore, MD |

My ex has sole physical custody of our son, but we both have joint legal custody.
Lately, my ex has gone to our child's school (teacher and principal) and directed them to share no information pertaining to our child (Grades, misbehavior, etc) with me.
The school is in a bad spot, because they want to cover themselves, but I always have been involved and feel like I have a right to know if there are issues.
There is nothing in our order that states I have no right to get school information. AM I legally entitled to information pertaining to grades? Absences and tardies? Behavioral issues? School activities? etc.

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Attorney answers 2

Best Answer

You are entitled to recieve all information regarding your child. The school is probably willing to send you copies of anything and everything regarding your son without your having to go through your former spouse. Provide the school with a copy of the court order or agreement granting you joint legal custody and that should solve your problem.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader. The author is an attorney licensed to practice law in the State of Maryland and the article is based solely on Maryland law.


Types of Custody in a Maryland Divorce

The question of "Who gets custody of the kids?" is one of the most difficult decisions for parents and their children, when parents separate. Custody and visitation are the legal terms for court decisions about how the child will spend his/her time between parents (or others). Custody and visitation are never considered to be final. As situations change, parents can come back to court to request changes.

In Maryland, the law does not favor either the mother or father. The law looks at the relationship of each parent with the child. While grandparents and others may seek custody, there is a "presumption" in favor of the natural parents. This means that the court is more likely to favor the natural parents.

This answer is designed to give you general information on custody rights in Maryland.
Types of Custody: What does the word "custody" mean?

Sole Custody - Custody is made up of: legal custody and physical custody. A person with legal custody has the right to make long range plans and decisions for the education, religious training, discipline, non-emergency medical care and other matters of major significance concerning the child's welfare. A person with physical custody has the child living primarily with them and they have the right to make decisions as to the child's everyday needs. Sole Custody is when both legal and physical custody are given to one parent. The child has only one primary residence.

Split Custody - Split custody is easiest to describe in a situation where there are two children and each parent obtains full physical custody over one child. Some of the considerations that may bring about this result are age of the children and child preference.

Joint Custody - Joint Custody is actually broken down into three categories: Joint Legal, Shared Physical, and Combination.

* Joint Legal custody is where the parents share care and control of the upbringing of the child, but the child has only one primary residence.
* In Shared Physical Custody the child has two residences, spending at least 35% of their time with the other parent.
* Additionally, you can make your own special joint custody agreement that is any combination of Shared Physical and Joint Legal Custody. One example of this is when there is one residence for the child and the parents live with the child there on a rotating basis.

You have a split custody arrangement with one parent having sole physical custody and both parents having joint legal custody. In this situation, both parent are consulted equally on such matters as education of the child, health of the child , and religion of the child.

If you have a Marital Separation Agreement it should spell out these issue and which parent has power of deciding which issue. For additional information see: