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Dear Attorneys,

What does “final decision-making authority” mean? It was mentioned in a proposal from my spouse’s attorney and I am very concerned. Does this mean I’m basically signing away my rights? Will I not be allowed to know about anything happening with my children?


Decision Maker


Dear Decision Maker,

While we understand why that language seems alarming, you do not have to panic! Final decision- making authority grants one parent the ability to make the final decision if both parents reach an impasse and cannot reach an agreement on a joint legal custody issue (in general, the health, education, religion and/or general welfare of the children). However, this does NOT mean you have signed away your parental rights.

Typically, you will need to be consulted before any major decision is made, whether that be about medical treatments, education, or even extra-curricular activities. The final decision making comes into play when you and your spouse are unable to come to an amicable agreement on the matter. One parent may have the final say in matters having to do with education, while one parent may have final say about medical choices. If you are negotiating an agreement, there are many different ways to craft this language.

This is not always the context, and sometimes one parent is given final decision-making authority across the board, but without a thorough review of your documentation, it is hard to say exactly what your spouse’s attorney is truly proposing. That said, we would encourage you to seek help from counsel to determine what options you have and what is right for you.

With over 22 years of combined experience, Attorneys Kristen Wolf & Shari-Lynn Cuomo Shore are highly skilled in negotiating settlements, especially those with disputes over custody and decision making.

Call us today, and let us make your matter easier, not harder. Ever argue with a woman? Let Wolf & Shore Law Group go to work for you. Call us at 203.745.3151 or email us at

Very Truly Yours,

Wolf & Shore Law Group


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