Worcester Parenting Schedule Lawyers
Helping Residents of Hanover & Westborough Create Solid Parenting Plans
Parenting schedules can serve as an essential tool for divorced couples sharing custody of their children. Even when parents get along, it’s good to have a foundational plan just in case any disagreements pop up later. A detailed parenting plan is even more important when parents have trouble coming to agreements. A parenting schedule helps lay out a guideline for when the children will spend time with each of their parents, so everyone involved knows what to expect. It helps protect each parent’s relationship with the child while giving a child stability. With over 35 combined years of exclusive family law experience, our attorneys at O’Connor Family Law can help create a parenting plan that takes into consideration your family’s unique situation.
Our Worcester parenting schedule lawyers can strategize creative solutions that promote your child’s best interests. Request your consultation by calling (774) 214-2137 today.
What Are the Contents of a Parenting Plan?
Whether you are dealing with a 50-50 parenting schedule or if one parent has more time than the other, a parenting schedule lays out the expectations of when each parent will spend time with the child. Some parenting schedules are vague, and some are extremely detailed. A parenting schedule will often lay out the regular scheduled parenting time on a week-to-week basis, but generally also include holiday and vacation schedules.
The more detailed parenting plans might state:
- Which parent is expected to transport the child at what times.
- Specific times each parent’s time with the child starts and ends, where the child is to be picked up.
- Any notice needed to be given in case one parent needs to change what is already planned.
- Who is in charge of getting the child to his or her extracurricular activities.
- Who is responsible for making the child’s medical appointments.
The hope is that parents will be able to effectively co-parent after their own relationship ends; however, that’s not always the case. We’ve seen many cases where the parents agree to a vague schedule only to have to come back into court later to get something more defined because one parent starts withholding the children or dictating times the other parent can have the children that do not work for that parent. It’s better to have something specific to fall back on in case of any future disagreement. In Worcester, a comprehensive parenting schedule declares the custody arrangement that becomes an order set by the court.
Once the parenting plan is entered as a court order, if one parent refuses to abide by the schedule without good reason, that parent can be held in contempt of court. In general, there is wide flexibility in these parenting schedules, with some parents exchanging children daily or weekly and, often, parents agreeing to slightly modify the written terms to fit their changing lifestyles as the children get older. It’s always important that, if there are any substantial or more permanent types of changes to what has previously been ordered, the new terms are submitted to the Court and entered as an order as well. One of our lawyers can help a parent draft a parenting schedule that meets the needs of the children, while protecting your parental rights in all situations.
Submitting a Proposed Visitation Schedule
The prior term for a parenting schedule was a visitation schedule. That term was done away with because both parents are equally important to a child. Regardless of the term used, the parenting schedule is meant to protect each parent’s relationship with the child. During the pendency of a divorce or custody matter, either parent can go to court on a motion for temporary orders seeking a parenting schedule to be ordered by the Judge.
If an agreement cannot be reached and the case has to be decided by the Judge, a parent in Worcester can submit a proposed visitation schedule to the court with the help of their lawyer. After hearing arguments from both sides, the Judge will generally take the matter under advisement and then issue an order about the parenting schedule that will be received in the mail. It is important to note that while both parents may submit their preferred plan, the judge has the final say on the arrangement, based on what the Judge determines is the child’s best interests.
There have been many instances where a Judge issues a parenting plan that does not work best for either parent. Sometimes a parent will have no choice but to go before a Judge seeking the parenting schedule he or she wants, but, often, it’s best if the schedule is worked out between the two parents as you are the ones who are going to have to live and abide by the schedule. Having an experienced attorney by your side will help you know when it’s best to settle or to bring your argument before the Court. If you can agree on a schedule, that agreement will be written down and submitted to the Judge to approve so it can be made into an order. Although the term temporary would imply that the order is not permanent, it’s important to know that, if there is not an agreement between the parents about any later changes to that schedule, a Judge will oftentimes simply adopt the temporary order into a permanent final judgment.
If you are going into Court where a temporary parenting schedule is going to be put into place, it’s extremely important to have a family law attorney with you who can guide you to ensure you are setting yourself up for the best outcome as your case moves forward. This is extremely important if there are any issues such as drug or alcohol abuse or if there has been any level of parental alienation taking place. Having a temporary order that specifically provides for increased or decreased parenting time if certain requirements are not met by specific deadlines can make a significant difference when it comes to trying to change the initial temporary schedule into a final schedule.
Contact Our Worcester Parenting Schedule Attorneys
Whether you are at odds with your child’s other parent or have reached an amicable arrangement, a parenting schedule can greatly benefit your own and your child’s life. There are many factors to take into account when drafting a parenting schedule, and your choice of legal counsel could have a drastic impact on not only your schedule in the interim but your long-term relationship with your child.
Very sensitive, responsive, attentive, and professional.- David
I can’t thank her enough!- Tanya
I highly recommend this family law firm and wouldn’t want anyone else representing me in this tough time in my life!- Former Client
I am forever grateful for the team's incredible efforts to make my stepdaughter's dream of having "a normal life" with her dad come true.- Lauren
They were always quick to respond and provided the information I was seeking.- Melanie