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Hanover Parenting Schedule Lawyers in Worcester County
A parenting schedule is a document that outlines provisions for the time each parent spends with the other child in a divorce or custody case. When a couple lives together, they usually work around each other’s schedules to make sure one person is always home to care for the kids. This all usually changes once a couple splits up and stops living together though.
If a couple is able to remain civil and work together, a parenting schedule can be pretty creative and continue to work around both parents’ work schedules. We’ve seen situations, where Mom works during the day and Dad, works at night, so we’ve created parenting plans where the parents simply split each and every day with the children. We’ve created other parenting plans to revolve around a parent’s rotating schedule (such as a police officer for example).
Regardless of what the parenting schedule is, the parents can modify the plan so long as they are in agreement. In other words, if parents share parenting time fairly equally, but then one parent’s work schedule changes, the parents can change the days and time to accommodate the parent’s new work schedule while maintaining the same amount of time for each person.
The problem comes when a couple has a hard time cooperating after they split up. This is where a detailed parenting schedule is extremely important because then each parent knows exactly when it is their right to have time with their children.
When a couple divorces and has children together, determining their parenting time and schedules is typically a primary concern. Reaching an agreement that best meets the interests of your children while protecting your rights as a parent can be complicated. Our Hanover parenting schedule lawyers have extensive knowledge of the laws applicable to these arrangements and can help with your legal situation.
Because our child custody attorneys have over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, you can feel at ease when putting your case in our hands. We can help you pursue an arrangement that benefits you and your family as you transition into co-parenting with your ex-spouse.
Custody and the Determination of Parenting Schedules in Hanover
One of the significant factors that could impact a divorcing couple’s parenting plan is the type of custody arrangement they have. When discussing custody, there are two types of custody that must be determined: legal and physical. A parent with legal custody has the authority to make important decisions that determine a child’s upbringing, while physical custody relates to who the child resides with the majority of the time.
When a couple has been married, joint legal custody arrangements are presumed unless one party can show it’s in the child’s best interest for only one of the parents to make legal decisions surrounding the child. If a couple was not married, then the Father does not have any legal rights to the child until the Court grants him legal rights. In Massachusetts, a mother is the only one who has legal rights to the child until the Father goes to court and obtains an order when the parents were not married at the time of the child’s birth.
Regardless of the legal custody arrangement, the physical custody issue is separately decided. The parents can share physical custody (meaning the child lives with each of them fairly equal amounts of time) or one parent can have primary physical custody (meaning the child lives with that parent approximately 66% of the time. In either situation, drafting a detailed parenting schedule that spells out the rights and obligations of each party is essential.
As stated earlier, when parents can get along, the parenting schedule can change based on the parent’s agreement. However, our firm deals with a significant number of high-conflict divorce and custody cases. In these types of cases, a detailed parenting plan helps each parent protect the time he or she has with the children. If a parenting schedule is not clear, it’s easier for one parent to withhold the children from the other parent. If it’s clear though, if one parent withholds the children, they can be held in contempt of court.
Depending upon how difficult it is to work together, a parenting schedule can spell out everything – such as what parent does the transportation, how much notice must be given if one parent is running late, what happens during the school day if there is a snow day or the child is sick, etc. How detailed a parenting plan depends greatly on how much clarity is necessary to protect your relationship with your children moving forward or in case you and the other parent stop being able to get along for some reason. Our attorneys in Hanover can help a parent draft a parenting schedule that meets their child’s needs while adhering to any custody arrangements.
The Process of Establishing a Parenting Plan
The legal process for establishing a parenting schedule mostly depends on whether both parties agree to the time each of them will spend with the kids. When parents can work together to create a schedule, they can jointly submit it to the court for review and approval to be entered as a judgment. Unless the court feels that the agreement is not in line with the child’s best interests, they would generally approve an agreed upon parenting plan.
However, if either parent doesn’t agree with what the other parent proposes about their parenting rights and schedule, they can seek a Judge’s input on what should and will take place. This generally happens by a motion for temporary orders being scheduled and heard after the initial complaint is served. At this hearing, the parents will have another opportunity to try to work out an agreement on the parenting schedule, but if they are not able to, they can each go before the Judge and argue for what parenting schedule they each think would be best. At this time, you can submit a proposed written parenting plan. After this hearing, the Judge then reviews the arguments and plans submitted by both parties and determines what arrangement best promotes the interests of the child. The Judge then issues an order in the mail that the parents have to follow during the pendency of the litigation unless they are later able to agree to modify it. It is important to note that a court may not choose either of the schedules presented by the parties and may create one entirely different – sometimes one that doesn’t make sense for you or your ex. A Hanover lawyer from O’Connor Family Law can help a parent draft a parenting plan that not only protects their rights but also is in the best interests of their child.
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