Your child is the most important thing in your life. And if you’re like most parents, the idea of your child not living with you, or of you not being able to make significant decisions regarding your child, is terrifying. However, if you are separating from or divorcing your child’s other parent, this is a very real possibility.
In Lakeview, parents who separate must make decisions about parental responsibilities – i.e. parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Here is a look into what you need to know:
A parenting plan is a written agreement between parents that addresses both parenting time – the amount of time a child will spend with each parent – and decision-making responsibilities of each parent. Parents must file a proposed parenting plan, either together or separately, within 120 after filing a petition for allocation of parenting responsibilities.
If parents are having a difficult time creating a parenting plan together, the court will order the parents to attend mediation. Mediation is a way for parents to express their desires and beliefs about a parenting plan in the presence of a neutral third party.
It is within your best interest to try your best to work with your spouse to develop a parenting plan on which you both agree. This way, you are in charge of your child’s future, and the decision-making power is not put in the hands of a judge. Working with your (ex)spouse can also serve as at the foundation for solving problems together in the future.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan, you must create your own parenting plan and file it with the court; your spouse must do the same. A family court will review both parents’ proposed parenting plans, and then will conduct a trial or hearing to determine which plan is within the child’s best interests. In some cases, a court may find that neither plan is suitable, and will make its own determination about the division of parenting time and parental responsibilities.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on a parenting plan and your case goes to trial or to a hearing, it will be important that you are represented by an attorney. During the hearing, you will need to present evidence demonstrating why your proposed parenting plan is superior to that of your spouse’s. Your attorney can assist you in gathering and organizing this evidence.
At the Arami Law Office, P.C., our knowledgeable Lakeview child custody attorneys understand what you are going through, and how emotional creating a parenting plan can be. If you have questions about the process or how to improve your chances of a court making a decision that is in your favor, call us today. You can also tell us more about your situation by using our online form.
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