Joint legal custody could be the right solution for some parents in Nebraska even if they do not share physical custody. Legal custody gives a parent the right to make decisions about major elements of the child’s life. This includes the child’s religion, education and healthcare. It is not uncommon for one parent to have physical custody of the child while the parent who has visitation rights also shares legal custody.

This is an arrangement that has benefits and drawbacks. Joint legal custody can go a long way toward bringing parents together in a functional coparenting relationship. For children, watching adults set aside their differences and work toward solutions can be beneficial.

Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Simply having legal custody does not always result in harmonious relations, and the relationship can even become manipulative if one parent insists that joint legal custody means they must agree. In other cases, one parent may simply be uninvolved and difficult to engage in the discussions that need to happen. When the arrangement does work well, parents may appreciate being able to consult one another over the years about difficult issues.

In addition to joint legal custody, parents may also want to consider joint physical custody. This can raise some of the same issues that joint legal custody does, but children may benefit from being able to develop a fuller relationship with both parents to a degree that even generous visitation time may not allow. It may help parents who share custody to create a parenting plan that addresses many of the likely areas of contention they might face. This plan could also establish rules for the children that are consistent in both households.