Custody And Parenting Time
In a divorce case with a minor child or children involved, the statutory period waiting period for concluding the case is customarily 180 days from the date the case was filed. In certain cases where the parties are able to reach a resolution on all issues pertaining to their child, including custody and parenting time, in addition to all other matters in their divorce case, a judge may waive the full 180 day period depending on the specific facts and circumstances in their situation.
Generally, parties address their respective legal and physical custody rights to their child during ongoing negotiations. If an agreement cannot be reached on these issues they will be decided by a judge at trial.
Legal custody relates to the right to make those major decisions regarding the child, such as their health, education, religion, and similar matters. In certain circumstances where parties truly cannot communicate with one another, a court can and will determine that only one parent shall be the legal custodial parent for the child.
Physical custody is often provided jointly to the parties, regardless of where their child spends the most time, unless the parties are unable to communicate effectively with one another regarding the child’s day to day needs and activities. Our Family Wizard is a website that has been utilized at times to facilitate non-verbal communication between parties to assist with co-parenting their child.
However, in certain situations a sole physical custodial parent is best for the child based upon the established custodial environment in existence leading up to the time of the divorce filing, the relationship between the child and each parent, the physical and emotional environment present in the home or homes and other factors. This will usually be determined by a Friend of the Court referee or a judge.
A parenting time schedule is one that can and should be negotiated between the parties so as to best meet the needs of their child, and based upon their age and grade in school. If parties are unable to do this through negotiation, parenting time will be determined by a referee or a judge, who is much less likely to understand your child or your family history and traditions.
During the school year, a child’s parenting time schedule reflects the child’s school schedule, activities, and at which parent’s home they sleep each night. Be mindful and practical relative to each party’s own schedule along with the child’s so that the new parenting time arrangement can best meet the child’s needs as well as they were met prior to the divorce filing.
Summer, holiday and vacation parenting time is established with different schedules to accommodate the varying situations presented.