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What Is The Difference Between Decision Making Responsibility and Residential Responsibility?

There are two components to parental rights in the State of New Hampshire, and we have already generally discussed residential responsibility. A second, more slender parenting right is known as decision making responsibility, formally known as "legal custody".

Decision making responsibility entitles the non-residential parent to have access to a child's medical, educational and other records, and to have the right to participate and be consulted on significant decisions affecting the child's life.

Joint Decision Making

Responsibility is in no way a veto power, but is rather a legal presumption that divorced parents can and will effectively communicate and cooperate in areas affecting their children after divorce. You should understand that the parent who receives an award of primary residential responsibility is vested with the responsibility of making day to day decisions concerning the child's welfare, and that joint decision making responsibility is a rather slender right, subject to manipulation in an acrimonious post divorce situation.

While our legal system presumes that shared decision making responsibility is in a child's best interest, that presumption does not apply if domestic violence has been present during the marriage. In many of those cases, our Courts will require the parents to notify each other of major events affecting the children, but does not require them to consult and attempt to reach agreement, due to the psychological imbalance created in abusive relationships.

This overview is not only to provide some basic, general guidance as to how this process operates, and is not meant to be specific or generalized advice for everyone undergoing or contemplating a divorce. You should seek the advice of our trained expert attorneys who can analyze your situation and make more specific recommendations after an in-person office conference.

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Shaunna L. Browne Law PLLC

102 Bay Street, Suite #2 Manchester NH 03104

For a Free Initial Consultation Call - 603-626-8080