Child Custody and Visitation
putting the needs of the children first
Every parent wants the best for their children in terms of guidance, care, emotional support as well as lifestyle. This is true whether the parents are married or not. It is impossible to put a price tag on ensuring that our children will be safe, happy, and cared for after a divorce.
When parents are feeling loss and guilt because they are no longer together for the children, it is often difficult to sort out what is truly in the best interest of the children versus how the parties want to move forward separately. When parents are trying to balance the emotional and financial concerns they have about their post-divorce parenting, it helps to have an experienced support team to sort things out.
Some common concerns prior to divorce expressed by divorcing parents:
- Will I be able to spend enough time with my kids?
- Will my children suffer as a result of the divorce?
- What about holidays, birthdays, and vacations?
- Will my spouse and I be able to agree on parenting going forward?
- What happens down the road, when things change?
The manner and frequency of one parent’s time with their children will change over time, based on a range of real-life things like school schedules, the child’s extra-curricular interests, and changes with each parent’s job, just to name a few. Even if things are settled and stay the same for awhile, changes are inevitable. The more difficult those changes are for the parents to understand and accept, the more difficult things are on the children.
Divorce Is Not Just About Legalities
The one thing many parents have to confront from the beginning is coming to terms with what is best for the children versus what is fair. Specifically, what is fair for the adults isn’t always best for the children. Another concern is whether the children will be negatively affected by the divorce. For example, it isn’t unusual for one parent to retain ownership of the family home in an attempt to minimize the impact of the divorce on the children. These concerns, among others, can compel a parent to seek a resolution that is neither wise or useful.
We encourage our parents to use the services of experienced professionals and specialists like divorce coaches and child specialists, when necessary. While we can offer crucial experience and advice regarding what is appropriate and legal in the way of parenting plans, what works for one family doesn’t always work for another. Every parenting situation is unique. An experienced divorce coach is more effective and far less expensive when it comes to helping parents adjust to the changes. An experienced child specialist can help a parent identify how best to care for the children post divorce and be an engaged parent of a happy, well-adjusted child.
The combination of experienced attorney and experienced specialists means that parents can individually understand what they can expect after the divorce while working through their emotions and coming to terms with what really is best for the children versus their own needs.
How We Help Parents Through Divorce
As if deciding an appropriate parenting plan isn’t enough, establishing an appropriate support agreement adds to the complexity. Some parents confuse parenting time with the level of child support, but those are entirely separate agreements. Our clients usually find that our clear explanation of the support calculation guidelines is very helpful for understanding the child support versus parenting plans. With that understanding established, parents are better able to efficiently address critical issues.
Legal Vs. Physical Custody
There are two kinds of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody requires that the parent make decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, welfare, etc. Physical custody is deciding which parent the child will reside with.
Visitation is the plan for how the parents will share time with the child or children and are varied depending on the best interest of the children.
It is always better if the parents can agree to what the custody and visitation should be. But in the event the parties are unable to agree, the judge assigned to your case will decide each parent’s role in making major decision affecting your child(ren) and each parent’s respective rights to parental access with the child(ren). The judge’s decision is based entirely upon what he or she believes is in the best interest of the child(ren).
Legal issues involving your child can be an emotionally draining time in your life and sometimes can be very complicated, requiring assistance of an experienced attorney. You do not have to do this alone, we are here to help you every step of the way!