Sole Legal Child Custody v. Joint Legal Child Custody: What a Utah Therapist Should Know

There are two types of child custody Utah marriage and individual therapists should be aware of: (1) physical custody, (2) legal custody.

Physical custody is about which parent kids spend their time with. Specifically, it’s measured by how many overnights the kids spend with each parent.

Legal custody is about who gets to make big decisions for the kids. Big decisions regarding things like: religion, schooling, medical care, psychological care, extracurricular activities.

Legal custody comes in two forms: (1) sole legal custody, (2) share legal custody.

If one parent has sole legal custody, then that parent can, essentially, make all major decisions about the kids without having to consult with the other parent.

This includes decisions regarding putting kids in, or taking kids out of, therapy.

What this means for therapists is when one parent has sole legal custody, you will only need to speak with that parent about treatment. It also means the parent with legal custody can preclude the other parent from obtaining therapy records, and can even preclude the other parent from taking part in the therapy process.

Also, if a parent has sole legal custody, you don’t need the other parent’s agreement in order to release records. One parent is enough.

As you can tell, sole legal custody is a very restrictive, very odd situation.

Now, if both parents have shared legal custody, they must consult about and discuss all major decisions regarding the kids. Usually, they must come to a consensus before moving forward with a decision.

So, therapists must involve both parents in the child therapy process when they share legal custody. Records, updates, therapy plans, the whole bit, it all must be shared.

And therapists must obtain consent from both parents before releasing records.

Now, everything I’ve said above is all from the legal side of things. You’ll want to check with your legal counsel about how you want to handle divorced parents and child therapy.

Published On: August 5th, 2019Categories: Child CustodyComments Off on Sole Legal Child Custody v. Joint Legal Child Custody: What a Utah Therapist Should Know
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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