In the event of a divorce where children are involved, a judge will grant one or both parents primary “legal decision-making rights” (also referred to as custody rights) based on the best interest of the children. The courts generally believe it is best for a child to have both parents share parenting rights and responsibilities and be actively involved in their child’s lives. However, some cases require that one parent have primary custody rights and the other parent be allowed limited parenting time. Previously referred to as “visitation”, parenting time is the term most often used to indicate how often and to what degree the non-custodial parent can spend time with their children in the process and aftermath of parental separation and divorce.
The amount of parenting time the mother and father receive is determined by several factors. While mediation and court interference may not be necessary if both parents come to a mutual agreement, the court must still review the desired parenting plan to ensure that the safety and well-being of the child are not at risk by granting either parent certain legal rights. If there is abuse in the home or either parent has been criminally convicted, for example, proof must be shown that it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with that parent. Special needs and other medical problems are also determining factors of a child’s parental involvement and living circumstances. If you have concerns about your child custody rights and privileges, you should consult a trained legal professional like Brad Crider who can get you and your children the rights you deserve.
The age of each child is also taken into account when determining parenting time privileges. If, for instance, a child is very young, the courts generally allow short, frequent visits rather than extended overnight stays with the non-custodial parent. As children become older, it may be necessary to change the agreed upon parenting time schedule. Even if both parents voluntarily agree to a change in the agreement, it is important to request the change be made by court order so that it can be enforced by law.
When it comes to providing for the needs of your children, each family circumstance is unique and the terms of your custody agreement are significant. Let Brad Crider help protect the safety and well-being of you and your children. Having an experienced family law attorney on your side that is ready to fight for your rights and privileges will make a difference in determining your children’s future.