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What does it mean to be granted legal child custody?

Most people only think about the physical aspect of being granted custody of their children. While determining who a child will live with or how he or she will split time between parents does make up a significant part of the child custody agreement, there simply is more to it. Parents or the court will also have to decide who will get to make legal decisions for the affected child. Parents in Georgia who are granted legal custody will have that right.

One is who awarded legal custody will have the responsibility of making the big decisions for his or her child. These include decisions for health care matters, education, involvement in religion and extra curricular activities -- among numerous others. Legal custody is generally granted to the primary custody holder; however, both parents may be awarded some level of legal custody if it is deemed appropriate.

If joint legal custody is awarded, parents will need good communication skills to make it work. It is not always easy to agree on what truly serves the best interest of the child. On the other hand, if the primary custody holder is the only one granted legal custody, the non-custodial parent will have no say in the upbringing or care of his or her children.

The majority of parents in Georgia who take active roles in the lives of their children want to be able to have a say in how they are cared for and raised even after divorce or separation. Being awarded legal custody does allow parents to be active participants in their children's lives, even if physical time ends up being limited. Child custody agreements can be challenging to hash out, but with the assistance of an experienced family law attorney, it is possible to seek the physical and legal custody arrangements one desires.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Custody", Accessed on April 19, 2017

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