In divorce, child custody and visitation arrangements often change over time. Children develop interests, start school, or get involved in different activities. These changes may also be a result of changes in family dynamics. In these cases, it is essential to put the child’s needs first. Listed below are common situations when changing custody and visitation arrangements may be necessary.
In some cases, shared custody may be the best option. In this arrangement, the child lives in both parents’ homes for most of the day. In this arrangement, the other parent has access to the child, but critical decisions are solely the child’s. Most common joint custody arrangements include the 2-2-3 and 2-2-5 plans. Joint custody is a good option when both parents live in the same area. However, it can be difficult to determine a schedule for visitation.
If joint physical custody is an option, the child will spend most of the day with one parent and spend time with the other. This arrangement can be difficult for children whose parents don’t get along. Joint physical custody is best for children who have a strong bond and live close to each other. It also may be a good option if the parents are close enough to one another to spend time together. While joint physical custody can help ease the transition between the parents, frequent transitions can cause friction.
In some cases, the child has sole physical custody. Unlike shared legal custody, sole physical custody usually means that one parent lives with the child full-time, while the other parent lives with the child only on weekends, holidays, and summer break. A court will often order this arrangement if there is a high level of conflict between the parents and distance between the parents. Work with a qualified child custody attorney to develop a working arrangement for both parents.
Joint legal custody grants the legal rights of a parent to make important decisions for the child. These decisions can include the child’s schooling, religious instruction, and health care. Joint legal custody is preferred by most courts, however, as both parents have equal say in raising their child. And in a few cases, joint legal custody can be awarded to both parents.
If neither parent can agree on custody, parents should seek mediation, collaborative law practitioners, or a custody agreement before going to court. These options will cost them much less than battling it out in court. But if mediation is not possible, the only option is court. However, it is important to remember that the court will look for undue influence and coercion. This will ensure the best interests of the child. The child’s well-being should be your first priority.
If you have a custody agreement, it is important to adhere to it. During the visitation period, it is important for both parents to stay in contact with each other. This will allow you to monitor how well your child is responding to the custody arrangement. If you do this, you can make the most out of the visitation schedule.
The courts will also consider the safety of the child. This includes considering the child’s mental health and emotional state. This information will help the court reach a decision that is in the child’s best interests. It is important to remember that these are not absolute rules and aren’t guaranteed in all cases. If you feel that your child is in danger, you must seek assistance immediately.
If the parents cannot come to an agreement, either parent can file a court petition for change of custody. However, the petitioner must show that there is a substantial change in circumstances since the last custody order. The change in custody must be in the child’s best interest. Most courts will try to maintain stability in custody arrangements and will not change the primary residence unless there is a significant change. Either parent has the right to retain an attorney to represent them in the custody case. If a parent cannot afford an attorney, the court may assign one for them.
While most parents are genuinely trying to do what’s best for their children, it is possible to make mistakes during a divorce process. Some parents may say or do things that will make the situation worse. They may feel that they have been wronged by their ex-spouse and are seeking revenge.