Parents who divorce face a number of very difficult choices, chief among them the choice between working together to create a parenting plan that meets their child's needs or forfeiting that responsibility to the court. To hear many divorcees discuss the process, one might think that a court steps in and harshly decides how parents raise their children, but in most cases this does not occur.
When parents who live together choose to divorce or split up, one parent often moves out of the family home to a separate dwelling. While this is certainly a practical choice in most cases, it may seriously impact future custody decisions. If you recently moved out of the home where your child lives with his or her other parent, or if you are weighing it as an option, be sure to consider how this may affect your custody negotiations.
These days, parents have a few more options than previous generations when it comes to custody and visitation, including virtual visitation. Virtual visitation is still relatively new and is not prescribed in every instance, but many courts now recognize that the widespread use of smartphones and tablets allows parents and children to spend time together through videoconferencing technology.
When you and your child's other parent share custody, you may have reasons to believe that your co-parent acts violently toward your child during their time together. Whether this is because of physical evidence, seeing the violence take place, or hearing about it from your child, it is obviously of the utmost importance that you keep your child safe. However, if your child's other parent enjoys court-ordered time with the child, you may feel as though you have few options to maintain your child's safety and still abide by the terms of the custody order.
When a couple must work out how to share child custody and visitation privileges, courts prefer to give them the opportunity to create a plan they both can agree upon, provided that it places the best interests of their child above their own rights or privileges. Unfortunately, parents are not always to reach such an agreement, and the court must step in and create a more rigid schedule that both parents must legally follow or risk loss of privileges or even criminal charges.
As a parent sharing custody or visitation rights, you know that custody issues are often very difficult to navigate. It is normal for parents to face some difficulty forming their lives around a court ordered custody plan, but some behavior crosses a line into dangerous territory, amounting in some cases to parenting time interference.
When a court considers custody options for a child, it is primarily concerned with the child's best interests above the rights or many of the preferences of parents and other guardians. In many cases, a court may even consider the wishes of the child in a ruling. This does not mean that parents and others in the child's life have no say in the custody of a child: in fact, quite the opposite. Most courts prefer for families to work together to create a custody plan that puts the child's needs first.
If your child's other parent does not pay his or her child support on time, your child is ultimately the one who suffers. Unfortunately, many parents with child support obligations do not stay current with support payments, placing both themselves and the support-receiving parent in a difficult conflict. For the parent trying to cover the shortfall of income, this can seem like a hopeless circumstance with no solution.
As you and your child's other parent work toward a fair child custody agreement, be sure to address how the way you divide your parenting responsibilities and privileges may affect your respective tax returns. Many parents, especially if they are both first-timers at parenting, do not realize how many exemptions and credits child custody offers.
In general, courts prefer to split custody evenly between two parents. However, in many cases, this is either not possible or is in conflict with the wishes of one or both parents. If you or your child's other parent plan to seek sole custody, it is important to understand what that actually means, and what it does not.