Parents that are planning to separate need to develop a Custody Agreement, which is also known as a Parenting Plan that addresses the issues of (1) child support, (2) legal custody and (3) a time-sharing schedule that will promote the child’s best interest. Parents need to address major decisions regarding their children’s education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
Time-sharing schedules vary greatly depending on the needs of the children and availability of the parents. With mature children, the court may want to consider the children’s wishes, as well as their social and academic commitments to develop an appropriate schedule.
In contentious custody cases, the court may decide to appoint an experienced family law attorney trained in child advocacy to represent the child’s best interest. The child’s advocate will meet with the child several times, typically including one visit to each parent’s home, and often contacts the child’s school, treating doctors, and other relevant individuals. The child’s attorney can recommend a waiver of the therapist privilege, if appropriate, and may participate in all aspects of the case and call any witnesses to trial that will support his/her position of what is in the child’s best interest.
With time, there can be a material change in circumstances that require a need to review the time-sharing schedule or how parents make major decisions concerning their children’s education, medical care, extra-curricular activities, or other significant issues. It is not uncommon for modifications of custody to occur, but they need to be formalized legally.
Regina not only has significant professional experience representing parents for over 20 years, but also as a court-appointed child’s advocate in high-conflict cases for over a decade. She is a divorced parent herself, and often speaks to clients about her own experience when trying to help them plan for the future. To obtain assistance developing a plan that works best for your family, contact Regina now.