The parent awarded legal custody has the right to take decisions that affect the child’s welfare such as education, religious ceremonies and healthcare. In majority of cases, the court awards joint legal custody – the parents share legal custody – unless one parent is unfit or incapable of taking decisions affecting the child’s welfare. Legal custody differs from physical custody. The child will live with the parent having physical custody of the child.
Example 1:Both parents share legal custody. In this case, both parents equally share the responsibility of taking important decisions about the child’s welfare.
Example 2:Because of the Father’s history of drug abuse, the court awards legal custody to the Mother. In this case, only the Mother can take important decisions about the child’s welfare. The Father has no say.