Divorcing parents in Georgia and around the country usually want what is best for their children even when they agree on little else. Their discussions generally focus on negotiating physical custody and arranging visitation schedules, but parents may sometimes have joint legal custody of their children even when they spend very little time with them. Parents with joint legal custody are authorized to make important decisions about matters such as education, health care and religion, but there are disadvantages to this type of arrangement.
Joint legal custody may not be an appropriate solution for parents who had especially acrimonious relationships because cooperation and empathy are crucial if children are to fare well in these situations. Consulting with each other before making major child care decisions may also be impractical when divorced parents live in different parts of the country or have disparate work schedules. However, the biggest drawback of joint legal custody is that it gives rise to situations where one parent can seek to manipulate the other by taking a contrary position to gain leverage.
However, the advantages of this kind of arrangement may outweigh its negative aspects. Joint legal custody allows parents who are unable to spend significant amounts of time with their children to still be involved in their upbringing, and the children of divorce tend to thrive when they see their parents working together to address thorny despite their differences.
Experienced family law attorneys may work hard to help divorcing parents to resolve child custody and visitation disputes amicably. Protracted court battles can emotionally damage children and their outcomes can never be assured, but there are options for couples who wish to avoid litigation when traditional negotiations are deadlocked. In these situations, attorneys may suggest a more cooperative approach to dispute resolution such as mediation.