Board Certified Family Law Specialist Matt Arnold answers the question: “Can I keep my Kids from seeing the other parent?”
One of the most difficult parts of a divorce is having to spend time away from your children. Divorce can make life difficult for everyone. The key to a successful transition is to resolve matters regarding parenting time so that both parents get to have regular time with their children. When you establish a new schedule, kids will often quickly adapt and will get used to their new normal. Both parents should make an attempt to come to an agreement regarding parenting time and other key decisions regarding their children. An experienced divorce attorney will help you create a parenting plan that works.
Physical and Legal Custody: What is the Difference?
Parenting comes with responsibilities and rights. Generally, both parents are expected to provide for their child and will be able to make decisions on their behalf. Physical custody refers to the primary residence of the child. A child typically lives primarily with one parent. This was often called physical custody. Even when both parents share parenting responsibilities, one of the parents is often the primary caregiver or custodial parent. The non-custodial parent usually pays child support and has visitation with the child on a regular basis. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions for the child such as those that pertain to medical matters, education, and religion. Again, both parents share legal custody of a child.
What is Parenting Time?
Parenting time is the time that parents spend with a child. Unless there are extenuating circumstances in which a parent is unfit, both parents have the right to spend time with their child. Time spent with a child was referred to as visitation, but is now typically called parenting time. It still means that the parent with whom the child does not primarily reside can spend time with the child. It is important to note that in North Carolina, the rights of the mother and the father are the same. The court will ensure that the parenting time is adequately divided in the best interest of the child.
How is Parenting Time Determined?
Parents must iron out some basics when they separate and begin the divorce process. One of the first considerations is where the child will reside on a permanent basis. It is best to consider the child when you make this decision. For example, a child that has friends in the area, attends a local school, and participates in nearby sports or activities should remain in their current location, when possible. In this instance, one parent may remain in the family home with the children while the other moves out. The non-custodial parent will have visitation on a regular basis. Visitation may include both weekday and weekend visits, depending on your particular circumstances.
A parenting plan is a document that details how a child’s time is to be divided between parents. The plan should be as specific as possible so that there are no questions about visitation. The plan may include such things as which parent picks up the child from school, which weekends the child will spend with a non-custodial parent, and how holidays and vacation time will be divided. The more specific the plan, the better. It is also a good idea to provide a guide for how to handle disputes. The parenting plan becomes part of the final order and once in place, parents cannot change it without court approval.
Parenting time is a critical part of any divorce with children. Get a phone, video or in-person consultation by calling at (704) 370-2828 to speak with our detail-oriented and well-versed lawyers with offices in Charlotte, Lake Norman, and Monroe, please contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today or find additional resources here.
The family law practice group at Arnold & Smith, PLLC includes four Board-Certified Family Law specialists and one Child Welfare Law specialist, as well as several attorneys with many years of family law experience that are committed to providing a powerful voice to individuals facing the often-tumultuous issues in this area of law. The range of issues our family law clients may be facing include pre- and post-nuptial agreements; separation agreements; post-separation support; child support (both temporary and permanent); absolute divorce; divorce from bed and board; military divorce; equitable distribution of assets; child custody (both temporary and permanent); retirement benefits and divorce; alimony and spousal support; adoption; and emancipation. Because this area of the law is usually emotionally charged and complicated, the family law attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC act with the utmost dedication to ensure that each client understands his or her options, and then act to achieve the best result possible for that client’s particular situation.
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