Court records of 358 divorce cases involving children from matched counties in two states with opposite legal presumptions concerning joint legal custody were reviewed. The impact of such presumptions upon actual custody awards was examined, as well as the correlation between demographic and other custody arrangement variables and joint legal and physical custody in both states. It was found that the existence of a presumption concerning joint legal custody affected legal but not physical custody award patterns. Significant correlations were discovered between joint custody and the presence of specific language in court orders concerning parental rights/responsibilities and financial support for children; parental education; gender of plaintiff; welfare agency involvement and defendants' requests for custody. Implications of these findings are discussed.