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Joint legal custody offers both benefits and drawbacks

Joint legal custody gives both divorced parents the right to be in charge of any major decisions about a child's life such as schools, medical care and religious training. Some Texas parents may share legal custody even if only one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation rights. This is an arrangement that has both advantages and disadvantages.

Joint legal custody can be good for the co-parenting relationship. Requiring regular communication about what are often difficult topics, it can push parents to set aside their differences and find a way toward solutions. When children see their parents working on and solving problems in a healthy way, this is beneficial for then as well. However, uninvolved parents can make sharing legal custody difficult as can manipulative parents. Some parents complain that the other parent will insist that they must agree because of the joint custody. Another potential frustration about joint legal custody is that it does not offer a clear map of how to reach success or even what success may look like.

However, sharing legal custody does have one other significant advantage. Parents may face a lot of tough decisions as their children grow up, and they may find that they are grateful for being able to share that decision-making with one another.

Parents might also agree to share physical custody. Sharing both types of custody offers the greatest opportunity for parents and children to remain involved in one another's lives, but if it is not possible for some reason, parents can still cultivate and maintain a healthy relationship with their children. For example, a noncustodial parent might want to arrange to have some visitation during the week. This may give the parent the opportunity to help the child with schoolwork, attend extracurricular activities and participate in other routine activities in the child's life.

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