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What are decision-making powers in child custody cases?

A child custody case involves having to think about a lot of different topics. One of the main considerations is who will make decisions for the child. This isn't always something that is easy to determine, but it is something that must be included in the child custody order.

How are decision-making powers noted in the order?

If one parent is going to hold all of the decision-making powers, this can be noted in the order. You can split the decision-making powers by category so that one parent makes some decisions and the other parent makes other decisions. Some of the categories include education, health care and religion. There are some cases in which neither parent will be responsible for making decisions for the child. The decisions might fall on the court or a representative of the court.

What special considerations should I think about?

One thing that you must think about if you are working on a child custody agreement is what will happen in the case of an emergency. This is especially important for health care decisions. If your child gets into an accident and needs medical care, will one parent be able to make decisions about potentially life-saving care? Will the parent have to try to contact the other parent before making the decision or can the parent make a decision alone? The plan for emergency situations must be clearly noted on the agreement.

You should understand how the decision-making powers can affect your future with your child. Making sure that you know exactly what you can and can't decide can make your life much easier as you spend time with your child.

Source: FindLaw, "Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step," accessed Feb. 23, 2017

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