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Decision Making & Divorce

Divorce cases are multifaceted, and they may become even more complex if the divorcing couple has children.  Decision-making responsibility has to be divided up like everything.  This article may help you understand how decision making is decided by a court.

What is Decision-making?

Decision-making is a fundamental responsibility of parents.  We all do it.  Our kids are nowhere near mature enough to make important decisions on their own – even if they think they are.   It’s our job as parents to step in and make these decisions for them.  Essentially, decision-making is a parent’s ability to make (or contribute to making) important decisions about their child(ren).  If the parents can’t come to some arrangement for decision making on their own, the court will do it.  Most judges will tell you, it’s way better for your family to come together and figure these issues out than it is to let a judge do it.

Major Decisions

Decision-making most often refers to the major, not day-to-day decisions. This will often include decision-making responsibilities as they pertain to topics such as education or health. We pick schools and doctors and churches.  With regard to education, decision-making often includes choices of school, whether the child attends private or public institutions, and what sorts of extracurricular activities in which the child participates. Major decisions also include health-related decisions, such as surgeries or selecting between a number of treatment options.  Most couples work together to make these decisions on behalf of their kids.

How is Decision-making Allocated?

Decision-making can take many shapes and forms. If the parents are generally able to get along and have fruitful communication, the court may order shared decision-making responsibilities. In this situation, both parents will have a say when it comes to important decisions about their child(ren). On the other hand, if the parties don’t get along so well (especially if there has been a history of abuse or domestic violence), the court may award sole decision-making responsibilities to one parent. A parent with sole decision-making authority calls the shots for major decisions.   Although these two scenarios are common, there may be many other nuanced options for how the court fashions decision-making.

What Influences the Court’s Determination?

Communication is fundamental if parents are going to share decision making. Beyond that, however, the most crucial factor to be considered by the court is what will be in the best interest of the child(ren). The court will want to ensure that any determinations will be the best (or as close to it as possible) outcome for safeguarding the children, their upbringing, and emotional/mental development. Therefore, if you’re arguing with your spouse over decision-making, you need to be able to state your objectives in a way that demonstrates that your position will best promote the interests of your child(ren)

Final Thoughts

Decision-making is extremely important to many parents. To most parents, it represents the ability to meaningfully participate in the development of their child(ren) as a parent.  As Modern Family Law’s attorneys dedicate their practice solely to family law, you can rest assured they have the experience and expertise you need to get accurate advice. Modern Family Law proudly offers free consultations with its team of qualified attorneys. So if making decisions about the upbringing of your child(ren) is important to you, or if you have any other questions about your family law case, get in touch with one of our attorneys today for a free consultation.

Posted January 19, 2017
by: MFL Team

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