If you are the parents of a minor-aged child then you will need to set aside some time to discuss the issues of child custody and visitation. If you are in agreement you can save yourself some time and grief by not taking it to court, but knowing some ground-rules about these issues is important. Read on for a quick primer on the custody and visitation issue.
There have never been more choices available when it comes to parenting after a divorce, but it really might come down to two main types: shared and joint.
This form of custody endeavors to give each parent equal amounts of time with the child and both parents will be legally and physically responsible for the child. The way you divide up the time is up to you and taking your work schedules and the child's needs into account is vital. The child inevitably will be shuttled back and forth from dad's house to mom's house, but the child does benefit from time with both parents.
Here the physical custody of the child lies with just one parent and the other parent will see the child based on the visitation plan. Both parents are still legally responsible for the child and they are expected to work together to make important decisions about education, discipline, religion and more.
1. The plan you agree upon when the child is young may no longer work as well as the child grows into the pre-teen or teenage years. All orders having to do with minor children can be revisited and adjusted, whether it be custody or visitation. Keep in mind that the family courts have the best interest of the child in mind when making decisions and changes in the parenting plans and not necessarily the needs or wishes of the parents.
2. Dealing with an ex that has moved into a new relationship can present another difficult custody and visitation issue. You cannot, however, go before a judge seeking to deny visitation just because you do not care for your ex's new relationship. If you have proof that a new person in the life of your child is inappropriate or dangerous, then you can take action, but allegations will get you nowhere. You must remember that the court's wish that the child spend a good amount of time with both parents and selfish efforts to prevent that are unwelcome.
3. The non-custodial parent will likely be ordered to make child support payments but you must know that child support and custody and visitation are two different issues. If your ex is behind on child support payments you cannot deny them access for their rightful visits with the child. You should, of course, contact the child support enforcement agency in your area and take action on the missing payments.
To learn more about custody and visitation speak to your divorce attorney.