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What decisions may parents share when they share joint conservatorship?

When co-parents act as their child’s joint managing conservators after a divorce, they do not only share the responsibility of parenting their child. They also share the right to make important decisions about their child’s life and care.

What decisions may they need to make in cooperation with each other?

7 important decisions in joint managing conservatorship arrangements

Joint conservatorship, sometimes called joint or shared custody, is an arrangement where parents share a number of rights and responsibilities. It allows both parents a say in important decisions about their child’s life. Some of these major decisions include:

  • Making medical and dental decisions for the child, consulting with their healthcare providers and receiving information about their care
  • Consenting to a child’s mental health treatment and discussing their care with psychologists or psychiatrists
  • Receiving child support payments and utilizing them for the child’s benefit
  • Making decisions about the child’s education and activities, discussing their education with teachers and school officials and attending activities related to the child’s education and extracurricular pursuits
  • Managing a child’s estate or inheritance
  • Receiving notifications in the event of an emergency
  • Consenting to marriage or enlistment when the child would otherwise be too young to take part

Because of the importance of these decisions, parents who share the right to make legal decisions may need to discuss those decisions before acting.

Parents may also want to discuss how they will make these decisions — especially if they disagree — when they create their parenting plan to ease potential future conflict.

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