Legal Decision Making Authority
Custody (now known as “legal decision making”) is the legal authority of a parent or other legal guardian to make decisions on behalf of the child. These decisions include what school the child will attend, what doctor the child will see, and whether a child should get braces.
Parenting time (formerly known as “visitation”) is the determination of how much time the child will spend with each parent. Legal decision making and parenting time are related, but one does not necessarily determine the other. Here are some of the factors the court considers when deciding legal decision making and parenting time:
- The past, present and potential future relationship between the parent and the child.
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with the child’s parent or parents, the child’s siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest.
- The child’s adjustment to home, school and community.
- The wishes of the child as to legal decision-making and parenting time, if the child is of suitable age and maturity.
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
- Which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent, meaningful, and continuing contact with the other parent. (This paragraph does not apply if the parent is acting in good faith to protect the child from witnessing or being a victim of domestic violence or child abuse.)
- Whether one parent intentionally misled the court to cause an unnecessary delay, to increase the cost of litigation or to persuade the court to give a legal decision-making or a parenting time preference to that parent.
- Whether there has been domestic violence or child abuse pursuant to section 25-403.03.
- The nature and extent of coercion or duress used by a parent in obtaining an agreement regarding legal decision-making or parenting time.
- Whether a parent has complied with chapter 3, article 5 of this title; and
- Whether either parent was convicted of an act of false reporting of child abuse or neglect under section 13-2907.02.