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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for July, 2006

Negotiating Legal Custody

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Legal custody means long term parenting decisions like which doctors the children see, where they go to school or what religion they are brought up in.

It can be joint, where both parties make mutual decisions, or it can be sole, where one party has the final say.

In today’s negotiation, mom’s lawyer offered my client “joint legal custody” where the mother, after consulting the father, makes the final decision.

We rejected that offer as being essentially “sole legal custody” with the mother by a different name.

We tried (a) reframing the issue and (b) breaking the issue down into smaller issues.

That is, both parties agreed to joint legal custody, and they had been able to agree on parenting of the children up until now.

So the only thing we were talking about was how conflicts would be resolved if there ever was a conflict. We reframed the issue from “custody” to “conflict resolution”. Conflict resolution is sometimes not as emotional and easier to talk about than custody.

There are a whole range of conflict resolution mechanisms from “mom decides” on one end and “dad decides” on the other end.

In the middle are flipping a coin, alternating decision authority, guidance by an expert, submission to a parenting coordinator, mediation and so forth.

Unfortunately, we were not able to get the mother to look at any other option in this case, and it looks as though we are headed for trial, at least for now. But you may get more mileage with these ideas in your case. As always, good luck.

 
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