In most circumstances, a judge will Order a “shared parenting plan” for the minor children. This means that both parents have a right to have full information about their children, and to share in making major decisions for the children. Just because the children live primarily with the other parent does not give that parent greater say in the children’s upbringing.
Occasionally for very special reasons, a judge may determine that one parent or the other should have the ultimate responsibility to make decisions in a particular area of the children’s lives.
If the parents, after good faith efforts, are unable to agree about a major decision affecting the child, (i.e., which school the children should attend) the court, upon motion, may decide the issue or designate the parent who will make that decision.
Sole parental responsibility may be awarded, usually rarely, to one parent when shared parental responsibility would be detrimental. Convictions of child or felony spousal abuse is a consideration and a presumptive factor in determining detriment, so is active drug charges. A court will also consider as evidence the fact that a person has provided false information in a domestic violence proceeding.