Primary custodian vs. custody

My separation agreement states in specific language that my wife and I have joint custody, but that she is “primary custodian”. She argues that this simply means that her home is the children’s primary residence, not that she has primary legal custody. Where does the truth lie?

Yes, this is kind of a confusing concept but your wife is correct. Joint legal custody is what most parents have in NC, with one of the parents having primary physical custody. This simply means that the majority of the time, the child will reside with that parent and that parent will make the normal day-to-day decisions involving the child. However, the other parent must be consulted on all major decisions, especially ones involving health issues and education. You will also have access to all of those important records as well. That’s where the joint legal custody comes in.

Thank you. Does the agreement need to specify joint “legal” custody?

I would say joint legal custody, yes.


You’re welcome!