A FEW RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT JOINT CUSTODY

January 21, 2011 § 3 Comments

  • An award of joint legal custody was reversed where the reason assigned by the trial judge was to allow the mother to participate in and keep up with the children’s activities.  Joint legal custody requires the parties to confer in the joint decision-making about decisions affecting the children’s lives.  Concern for access to information does not warrant award of joint legal custody.  Lowrey v. Lowrey, 25 So.3d 274, 296 (Miss. 2009). 
  • The trial court is not required to consider the Albright factors in determining whether to award joint legal custody, since they apply only to physical custody.  Palculict v. Palculict, 22 So.3d 293, 297 (Miss. App. 2009).
  • MCA § 93-5-24(2) provides that the trial court in an irreconcilable differences divorce may award joint custody only “upon application of both parents,” but in all other cases the court may award joint custody “upon application of one (1) or both parents.”  But where the parties have consented to an irreconcilable differences divorce and agreed for the trial court to adjudicate custody, the chancellor may award joint custody.  Crider v. Crider, 904 So.2d 142, 148 (Miss. 2005).  
  • “There are … significant legal consequences attached to each form of custody.  If parents accustomed to joint decision-making disagree, the parent with sole legal custody has authority to make unilateral decisions regarding the child.  A move by one of two joint custodians triggers an Albright analysis to determine which parent should take sole physical custody.  In contrast, when a parent with sole custody relocates, the relocation is not in itself a reason to modify custody.”  Bell, Mississippi Family Law, § 5.04[4].
  • Joint custdy is inappropriate where the parties are unable to communicate and cooperate.  Lewis v. Lewis, 974 So.2d 265, 266 (Miss. App. 2008).   

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