Determining which spouse or parent will retain physical custody of the children is often the most emotional and contentious aspect of a legal separation or divorce. In most family cases, the court will seek to grant some form of joint custody. In such cases, it is up to the parents, with the help of a mediator, to determine the logistics of sharing time, including holidays, vacations, and any other special events.
It is assumed in all child custody and visitation arrangements that the child’s interests are put first and foremost. Fairness to parents or other interested parties are secondary to the interests of the child.
Attorney Laurence Haines understands that child custody and visitation can be some of the most bitterly disputed aspects of a divorce but our years of experience have taught us that parents who relentlessly battle over custody end up the losers: causing stress-related health issues and doing irrefutably emotional harm to the child or children. It is much better to work toward an amicable resolution for custody and visitation.
Not to belabor this point, but many judges who witness parents choosing conflict over resolution, will interpret the behavior as a net loss for the child. Often both parents will be sanctioned monetarily or by being required to take parenting classes at their own financial expense.
Bottom Line? Family Attorney Laurence Haines strongly encourages his clients to negotiate a fair and reasonable parenting plan before their dispute goes to litigation. Once you give up on resolving the issue yourselves, you will incur a huge financial expense for litigation and more importantly, you will sacrifice control of your child’s custody and visitation arrangements to the judge, — a judge who doesn’t know or love your child as you do.
In most custody cases, parents share legal custody of their children, which typically includes decisions about education, medical care and religious upbringing. One parent may be awarded primary physical custody of the children and visitation or “parenting time” is given to the non-custodial parent. More common in the last few years, however, is that parents share joint physical custody, in which case the children split their time equally between both parents’ households.
Attorney Laurence Haines will help you consider all of these options and help create a plan that works for you and your children. To learn how we can help you, please contact us today. The initial consultation is free.