Definition of Sole Legal Custody
Although joint legal custody is the more popular child custody option for divorce or separation, if the court decides one parent does not have the ability to make sound legal decisions for a child or if the parent is not involved in the child's life, the court may choose to award sole legal custody to one parent. If sole legal custody is awarded the parent awarded custody will have the right to make legal decisions about the child's child's health, education, and welfare. Sole legal custody may provide increased consistence for a child and may allow decisions to be made faster without considering the other parent's wishes.
Sole legal custody only concerns legal decisions for the child. Physical custody is a different issue which has to do with where the child resides. Parents may not have physical custody of their child, which means the child resides primarily with one parent, but they may continue to retain the right to have input in legal decisions for the child.
What rights do you have if you do not have legal custody of your child? You may continue to receive copies of your child's medical and school records and you may continue to be involved in your child's activities. Remember, regardless of the legal custody arrangement it is important to continue to seek the best interests of your child. This includes promoting the relationship with your child. Contact a divorce lawyer if you have questions about child custody and how a divorce may impact whether you can make legal decisions for your child after the divorce is finalized.
« Back to Glossary