What exactly does joint legal custody mean?


My husband and I filed for divorce, and my husband is seeking joint legal custody. I’m not very familiar with child custody laws, so I’m wondering what does joint legal custody mean?  I want to keep my kids if I can, and let him visit once in a while.



Joint legal custody is a formal legal arrangement whereby the court grants both you and your husband joint custody of the child. This means that you will share custody of our child according to an organized visitation schedule that you, or the court, establish. You will have custody of your child some of the time, and your husband will also have custody. You will have to comply with the joint custody agreement under the law, and if you forbid him from taking the children during the time the court has decided he will have custody, you could be held in contempt of court. While child support laws vary by jurisdiction, in most motions for joint custody will be granted and your husband will be legally entitled to at least some visitation time with the children.

If you and your husband are able to work out a formal custody agreement as part of your divorce settlement, that may be more beneficial for both you and your children, as well as cost less in legal fees. If you and your husband are unable to work out a mutually agreeable visitation schedule and/or joint custody agreement, the court will make a custody determination. You should speak with a qualified family law attorney for more information about your options and for helping negotiating a custody agreement with your husband.

Talk to a Lawyer

Want to talk to an attorney? Start here.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Connect with local attorneys