Rights Regarding Child Care With Dual Custody

By Stephanie Reid

If you share joint legal custody with your child’s other parent, you have an equal, 50-50 say in all matters relating to child care. If you and the other parent disagree on a particular issue, mediation or a court hearing might be necessary. However, a co-parent is not permitted to withhold information about babysitters or refuse to allow the other parent access to the child’s day care facility. When you share custody, you and the other parent have equal rights to information and involvement when it comes to child care.

If you share joint legal custody with your child’s other parent, you have an equal, 50-50 say in all matters relating to child care. If you and the other parent disagree on a particular issue, mediation or a court hearing might be necessary. However, a co-parent is not permitted to withhold information about babysitters or refuse to allow the other parent access to the child’s day care facility. When you share custody, you and the other parent have equal rights to information and involvement when it comes to child care.

Joint Custody

The term, dual, or joint, custody refers to the legal doctrine awarding parents the equal right to direct the upbringing of their child. In most jurisdictions, joint custody is presumed unless either parent can prove why the joint involvement by both parents is not in the child’s best interests. In addition to the parents’ equal rights to engage in child-care decisions, joint legal custody allows both parents an equal say in medical care, education and religious upbringing. If the court decides that it's appropriate to place certain limitations on a joint custody arrangement, it will spell those out in its custody order.

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Right to Make Decisions

As a joint custodian, you have a right to be informed of the identity of any individual caring for your child. You also have the right to be involved in the decision to enroll the child in child care or to select an appropriate babysitter for the child. The situation can become less clear if the child does not live with you, as the child-care facility may refuse to release the child to you upon request. However, the parent with physical custody may consent to you picking up your child from day care. The child-care facility will likely ask for copies of your most recent custody and visitation orders to verify the custodial arrangement.

Right to Object

As a joint legal custodian, you have the right to object to the other parent’s choice of child care. You may first express your issues to the other parent directly. If that is unproductive, you may need to file a motion in family court. This will likely be a motion for contempt against the other parent for failing to come to a mutual agreement with you about child-care arrangements. In your motion, you'll need to cite specific facts about why you do not consent to the proposed child-care arrangement, as well as include the relief you are seeking, such as an alternative child-care arrangement or a modification of your current order to include child care.

Legal Proceedings

If you file a motion for contempt against your child’s other parent, you will likely be required to attend a hearing on the matter. Disputes over child care, as with all proceedings involving children, are decided using the standard known as the “best interests of the child” doctrine. Each state code contains a set of factors the court must consider when making any decision regarding a minor, including the wishes of both parents, the child’s adjustment to his current child-care setting, the child’s wishes -- if age appropriate -- and any relevant background information about the child-care facility or babysitter in question.

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Parents' Rights Under Joint Child Custody Laws

References

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Rights of Parents With Sole Physical Custody in California

California courts can award sole physical custody to one parent or joint physical custody to both parents, based on the best interest of the child. The California Family Code does not favor either joint or sole custody. In California, sole physical custody is also called primary physical custody. Sole physical custody includes the right to control the child's whereabouts, housing arrangements, school enrollment, after school care, medical and dental appointments, holiday and vacation plans. However, sole physical custody does not automatically give the parent sole legal custody, which is the right to make all critical decisions over the child's life. Sole legal custody would need to be included in the custody order. The court order should outline each parent's child custody or visitation rights.

Joint Custody Laws in Ohio

When parents divorce, many prefer to arrange for joint custody of the children when possible. In Ohio, this is officially called “shared parenting,” but many of Ohio’s shared parenting guidelines are similar to other states’ joint custody laws. Ohio’s laws were rewritten in 1991 to allow the court to order shared parenting even if one parent objects to the arrangement.

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While the courts will give a child's wishes more consideration as she grows older, someone younger than 18 can't refuse to visit her noncustodial parent. Unless visitation would risk physical or mental harm to the child, the courts won't allow her to refuse visitation without consequences for the custodial parent.

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