You and your ex both share custody of your children. This is true in both a physical and a legal sense. In other words, the children not only split their time living with each of you, but you each have a right to make decisions for the children — such as where they should go to school or what medical care they get.
While splitting physical custody has gone well, you’ve found legal custody a bit harder. Maybe your ex is strongly against a specific medical treatment, while you’re in favor of it. Both of you feel like it would harm the child to take the other person’s approach. Who gets to decide?
The court may have to step in
The first step, of course, is to talk and see if you can find common ground or a compromise. But remember that you can’t do anything on your own, and neither can your ex. If you take the child to get the treatment against their wishes, you risk losing custody.
This means that the court may have to step in. Generally, the court gives shared legal custody to couples who can work together to make these decisions, just like a married couple, even after the divorce. You can explain to the court that this has proven impossible and they can make a ruling.
What if it’s a more minor issue?
Medical issues are potentially serious, but what if it’s something a bit less drastic? For instance, maybe you punish your child by taking away their phone, but your ex just gives it back when the child goes to their house. You feel that this undermines your authority.
This is a potential problem from a parenting standpoint, but not in a legal sense. You cannot control what your ex chooses to do, and they are not obligated to follow all of the rules you set for the child — just as you are not obligated to follow the rules they set.
Understanding your options
The fact of the matter is that shared parenting after a divorce is difficult and complicated. If you run into these issues, make sure that you understand all of the options that you have.