The result was confusion and court disputes over parenting time and final decision-making authority.
For other legal reasons, a primary residential parent must be declared even when parents share exactly equal time with their child.
Both the primary residential parent and the alternative residential parent have authority to make decisions on the day-to-day care and control of the child while the child resides with that parent.
Because most parenting decisions fall under the day-to-day designation, the determination of primary residential parent is very important in determining how the child will be raised.
As a general term, joint legal custody meant that both parents shared equally the right to care for and supervise a child.
And that both parents shared equal authority to make important decisions regarding education, non-emergency health care, choice of religion, and extra-curricular activities.