Categories
Custody Advice

Understanding Visitation Rights for Fathers

Understanding visitation rights for fathers is paramount to helping you get the most of your time with your kids. You can follow certain steps to maximize the amount of time you literally have. Once a schedule has been set, your goal is to squeeze the most out of it

After a Judge Decides Your Visitation Schedule

Few experiences take as much out of you as fighting in court, before a judge you’ve never met, for your God-given rights to be with your children. You’ve likely talked about all of it ahead of time with your attorney.

Then, the decision comes down. From here on out, you’ll see your children, the same people you’ve tucked in at night, every night, on a schedule. And none of it makes any sense.

Once you’ve reached this point, you’ll be met with two choices:

  1. Either you can keep fighting for custody of your kids
  2. Or, you can make the absolute most of the time you have with them

The decision is yours.

But before you start scheming, plotting, and hiring Magnum, PI to dig up dirt on your ex, think. It’s likely that nothing will come of it. And drawn-out custody battles only hurt your kids in the end.

Generally speaking, unless your ex is a raging alcoholic with a criminal record or an abuser, odds are your continued litigious efforts will all be for naught. Mom usually gets managing conservatorship over your kids. You’ll be named the non-custodial parent.

Why?

Well, a lot of it has to do with biology. Mom went through the pregnancy. Mom birthed your offspring. Mom gets dibs, right? Not necessarily. There was a time when this happened semi-automatically. And in the good ole South, it’s still what judges will prefer.

Maximizing Your Time with Your Kids

Litigating aside, what can you do to be an actual, real part of your kids’ lives — even if you’re not physically there 24/7?

Kids don’t care about the brand new shoes you got them for school. They couldn’t care less about the gaming system in the end. Games and toys and things are just that. They aren’t you! So what do they want from you? That’s easy, man! They want you!

The amount of time you spend with your brood is nowhere near as important as what you do with it. If you’re experiencing budgetary constraints, tighten that wallet! Save some cash by planning out your weekend activities to center around you getting plenty of time to talk to your kids.

If you’re trying to figure out how to steer your ship of life through the lives of teenagers, get them on their level. Meet your teens on common ground.

  • Video chat with them regularly
  • Traveling? Turn the camera around and show them your surroundings
  • If they’re of dating age, bring the significant other around, too

But if you’re having a rough time with your teenage daughter, don’t quit. Underneath all the angst that comes with this part of growing up, she’s still there. She’s still the little girl who wouldn’t let you go when you arrived home from working a long hard day.

Teens are territorial. Give her a space within your home that’s just for her. She’ll respond almost immediately!

A Child’s Years Don’t Last Forever

If you do nothing else, show up for them. Keep your kids in your center of gaze. You need to see them in order to prioritize their needs over your own. So, go out of your way to do so by:

  • Offer to take your kids to doctor’s appointments and regular checkups
  • Show up to support them at sporting events
  • Join the band parents and get involved
  • Show up uninvited at school plays
  • Arrange your schedule so you’ll take a later lunch in the day a few times a week and spend that time with them

Going out of your way is not at all convenient. It’s not supposed to be. A good dad, a phenomenal Dad, does whatever he has to for his brood. The harder, the more laborious, the more time-consuming, there he’ll be!

Your kids won’t be kids for long. You’ll soon watch them cross the graduating stage. What will you say then if you waited that long to grow up?

Sit down. Write a letter right now to your son or daughter to hand over to them on that day! In it, be the best version of yourself, the best dad, and lay it all out. Are you proud? Do you still see their chubby baby cheeks smiling back at you from under that cap and gown? Let them know!

Because it’s all so finite, so short, be there! Maximize your child visitation rights by actually visiting your child.

Remain on good terms with your ex. Doing so will keep her on your side. Don’t bring up the past. It no longer matters. Instead, offer to drive your kids home and save her a trip when you can. It’s simply a win-win!

Keep Records in Case You Need Them in Court

And if despite all you do, you can’t get proper access to your kids, keep records of everything! Embrace technology to help you do it.

Simply make it a habit to correspond with your ex via email, text message, etc from the get-go. Not only do you keep a record of all your efforts to be a good parent, you may be able to document any problems coming from her side.

Just make sure that you don’t get caught out yourself by writing something stupid or offensive. Always imagine that anything you write could be read by a judge or police officer at a later time.

Be a Phenomenal Dad!

Cultivating your relationship with your children (whether you’re married or not) is your responsibility! No one can connect with your kids for you. You’re irreplaceable.

Maximizing child visitation is your job. You have to make the most of every minute you get to be with your children. They’ll only be that young once. Teens can be an issue. But it’s one that’ll only last for a while. You’ll need to be there through it if you want your kid to take you seriously.

Buying them stuff won’t matter. Any favorable attention you get won’t last any longer than the sneakers will remain clean. Take care of their emotional needs along with their financial ones. Be THAT GUY!

Keep your relationship with your ex light and upbeat. Offer to help out with your kids where and when you can.

But, above all, hang on to your little ones. Do it even when you don’t want to, even when you’re tired. Keep them close to your heart. Love them freely!

Categories
Custody Schedules

Pros and Cons of 50 50 Custody

50 50 custody has been shown to produce numerous benefits for the children of separated and divorced parents. But other custody schedules are often used. Why?

Here, I want to explain the pros and cons of 50/50 child custody. If you look at the advantages for children, such as being close to both parents, the arrangement is certainly attractive.

The disadvantages are fewer and often logistical, such as parents living too far from one another for frequent changeovers to be supported. Some of the supposed disadvantages are more myth than reality.

What 50 50 Custody Means

50 50 custody means that a child or children spend equal amounts of time under the care of each parent or guardian.

  • Custody percentages are usually calculated using the number of nights spent with each parent (but can also be calculated in hours).
  • 50 50 custody means children spend, on average, 182 to 183 nights with each parent per year.

50 50 custody means the parents share joint physical custody of a child — you don’t have one parent dominating care responsibilities. Almost always, the parents also share joint legal custody, meaning they must consult when making major decisions (such as choice of school).

Types of 50 50 Custody Schedules

The most well known 5050 custody schedule is week about. This is where a child spends exactly one week with each parent at a time. However, the timetable is only really best for older children when school is out for summer.

Another common schedule is the 3-2-2 fortnightly timetable.

  • You have your children from Friday through to Monday morning.
  • Then you have them again for overnights on Wednesday and Thursday.
  • And you have them again for the Monday and Tuesday nights.

It’s an alternating weekend pattern with alternating 2-day blocks during the week.

For very young children, 50 50 custody requires lots of changeovers. Because the children need to keep seeing each parent frequently, they may be swapping homes every 1 or 2 nights.

Pros of 50 50 Custody

50 50 custody is the ultimate form of shared parenting. The two parents are treated as equals and fully share responsibilities for raising children. Here are the main pros of equal custody and other shared parenting plans.

1. Children have two involved parents

50 50 custody allows children to benefit as far as practical from having two parents. They can draw on the different strengths of their mother and father, including the resources and connections of both extended families. Humans have evolved having two parents and 50 50 custody is the best way to keep that when parents live apart.

2. Parents get rest breaks

Mother relaxing

Parenting is a challenging and energy-sapping role at the best of times. Who wouldn’t want to get a break every now and then? With 50 50 custody, each parent is able to give their best because they have rest breaks between visits.

The fact that I constantly have to find childcare is probably more exhausting than the not sleeping. I have to find childcare just to get the time and space to recharge.

Becky L McCoy

The benefits of sharing parenting duties are many. Not only do parents get rest breaks, but they can have a life beyond looking after children. That allows both parents to have hobbies and interests, maintain a bigger friendship group, build a career and generally be better role models for their kids.

3. Double the household resources

Being a kid in a 50 50 custody arrangement has the advantage that you live across 2 households. That makes for an interesting and varied upbringing.

Anything that one household lacks the other may provide. For example, one parent might live close to a park and the other close to shops.

4. Improved living standards

Living across 2 households improves a child’s living standards generally. For a start, both parents are more likely to work full-time.

As well, you avoid living full-time in a low-income sole-parent household. Children are likely to spend more time with the higher-earning parent. Fathers generally earn more than mothers but often miss out with respect to custody.

Cons of Equal Custody

The main drawback to 50 50, equal custody is that it can be difficult logistically. You really need both parents to live near the school district for example. Otherwise, spending equal time with one parent involves long school trips in the morning and/or afternoon.

Traveling long distance by car

People consider that shared parenting has children traveling all the time and being unsettled. But this is largely a myth. The best 50/50 custody schedules time changeovers so they happen through school. There is no extra travel involved. And, with 50 50 custody, a child feels at home at both the places where they live.

50/50 may be unsuitable for very young child who really need a home base. It is also unsuitable if parents live far apart.

But parents can always move closer and children get older. So, I believe just about every set of parents should consider agreeing on a 50 50 custody schedule or including provisions for it in their parenting plan.

Categories
Custody Schedules

How Many Overnights is 70/30 Custody?

A 70/30 child custody schedule usually means 2 overnights visitation per week or, in more practical terms, 4 overnights per fortnight. Two nights out of every 7 is 29% visitation time, which makes it very close to a 70/30 percentage split.

About 70/30 Child Custody

A fairly common custody arrangement is to have a child (or children) live with one parent, the custodial parent, and spend around 70% of their time with them. The child also visits the other parent, the non-custodial parent, and spends around 30% of their time in his or her care (usually “his” care).

The terms custodial and non-custodial parent (or primary carer and non-primary carer) can be applied since the child is spending greater than 35% of their time in the care of one parent. Typically, the custodial parent is the mother and the non-custodial parent is the father.

Many parents with 30% or less custody complain that their time with the child or children is insufficient to develop truly close bonds. They may not feel as though they are a full parent, especially when they are given the non-custodial parent tag.

In contrast, more even custody schedules, such as 60/40 or 50/50, are usually referred to as joint physical custody or shared care. The two parents have equal or reasonably equal amounts of time when they are responsible for the care of the child or children.

More than “Every Other Weekend”

Since 70/30 child custody works out to 4 overnights with the non-custodial parent per fortnight, this amount of custody is more even than “every other weekend”.

Even if a child spent an extended weekend, from Friday through to Monday morning, with the non-custodial parent each fortnight, that would only be 3 overnights. So, the custody arrangement must include extra visitation time.

Let’s look at popular custody schedules for children of different ages. Timtab.com has detailed examples of these sorts of 70/30 child custody schedules. You can also create your own custody schedule using Timtab’s excellent software.

Every Other Weekend and Every Other Monday Schedule

For older children especially, a popular 70/30 custody schedule is to have an extended weekend with the non-custodial parent every other weekend plus a Monday visit after the weekend with the custodial parent / primary carer.

The schedule provides for a lengthy visit each fortnight. As well, the Monday visit means the child is never away from the non-custodial parent for more than a week.

Every Other Weekend and Monday, Thursday Custody Schedule

An alternative schedule is to shorten the alternate weekend with the non-custodial parent. Instead of 3 overnights from Friday to Monday, it can be 2 overnights: Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Monday. The extra day can then used to add a visit every alternate Thursday.

The advantage of this schedule is that children are never away from the non-custodial parent for more than 4 days. The disadvantage is there are more changeovers, with 3 separate visits per fortnight. The schedule suits younger children who are less able to tolerate extended time away from each parent.

70/30 Weekly Schedules for Toddlers

Toddler girl

For babies, toddlers and pre-school children, the best schedules are not of the every other weekend kind. The 4 overnights per fortnight are best spread out over 4 visits. That way, the child is never away from their custodial parent, usually their mother, for more than 1 night.

For toddlers, a popular schedule is to have an overnight visit every weekend, such as Saturday, plus a midweek visit every Wednesday. The schedule provides for consistent, predictable contact with each parent.

A simple weekly schedule can be defined in this case. For example, you could say “The child visits with the father each week from 5pm Wednesday to 9am Thursday and from 9am Saturday to 9am Sunday.” For such a schedule to work, the parents would have to live quite close to one another.

2 out of 3 Weekends Timetable

Another 70/30 parenting timetable, which is especially helpful for long-distance co-parenting, is 2 out of 3 weekends. The child visits with the non-custodial parent from Friday to Monday following a pattern of two weekends on and then one weekend off.

The arrangement gives 6 overnights per 3 weeks, which is the required average of 2 overnights per week. It is ideal for long distance travel since all visits are on the weekend. The non-custodial parent isn’t involved in school commutes except on Friday afternoon or Monday morning.

Categories
Separation

Benefits of Seeing a Family Lawyer

Separation and divorce can be a very stressful and emotional time for all people concerned. Fortunately, there is a great deal of help available to guide people through the experience smoothly after a marriage has irretrievably broken down. A family lawyer offers certain benefits.

Separation and Divorce Represent a Time of Need

For many reasons, a marriage can break down to the extent that separation and divorce is the only solution for both people involved. If you’re sure that your marriage has gone beyond the point of mediation or help from counseling, it’s your right to petition for a divorce.

But you don’t have to struggle through it alone. And getting assistance can be vital to ensure you gain an effective custody arrangement, including a custody schedule, for your child or children.

Legal help can be an invaluable aid, whether your separation is an amicable split or the result of unreasonable behaviour from your ex-partner. By letting a family lawyer handle the legal proceedings, you can take a weight off your mind and concentrate on other important matters in your life.

Knowing Procedures and Your Rights

The most important thing to do when starting divorce proceedings is to make sure you are fully informed about the procedures involved, as well as your rights.

Even if the decision was a difficult one to make, dealing with your divorce doesn’t need to be, with family lawyers available to help you every step of the way. That help may be needed to deal with complicated issues involving the dividing of property and assets or custody of children.

By choosing a family help lawyer to take care of your divorce, you won’t have to deal directly with ex-partners or get bogged down in legal terms. Divorce is often the first experience of the legal system for many people, and family lawyers are there to help you make sense of the proceedings.

Benefits of Hiring a Family Lawer

While most people are aware of the costs of hiring a family lawyer — most notably, the expense and possibility of ongoing legal conflict — benefits also exist. Otherwise, people wouldn’t do it.

When you involve a family lawyer, it becomes much easier to find out about your rights and options. As well, you learn about the legal procedures involved if your divorce goes to court.

You can help the process to start early by providing your solicitor with as much information as needed from the outset, including documentation on assets and income if these are relevant. You can also help ensure that both you and your divorce solicitor get the most out of your meetings by planning any questions to ask ahead of time.

Family lawyers are committed to helping you get through your divorce as smoothly as possible and with the best financial and custody outcomes. By choosing experienced and conciliatory divorce solicitors to guide you through the legal process, you can reduce the stress of your separation and enjoy a new lease of life.

Categories
Custody Advice

Child Custody: Big Picture Advice

Seeking help before you start fighting child custody offers many benefits to parents and children. Most situations are rather benign and an amicable arrangement is achievable with little outside help.

Of course, if the situation is intractable, you may need advice or help from a professional. Remember, knowledge is power. If you need help figuring out how to approach your child custody situation, here are some things that you might want to keep in mind.

Family Law is a Specialist Area

Make sure you are working with a competent attorney. When it comes to disputes over custody, having a lawyer that is well versed in the workings of the Family Court is essential. A “regular” lawyer isn’t always your best bet in this case.

You will benefit from having someone who exclusively practices family and custody issues. These attorneys are far more familiar with the operations of Family Court (which is quite unlike Criminal or Civil Court).

Ideally, you want an attorney who is knowledgeable about working with children and knows what judges look for when they make decisions about what is best for the children.

You will be better off by hiring someone who has great knowledge of how to work with Child and Family Services as well. They should be experienced with working with the Department and facilitating mediation and cooperative decision making.

Consider Joint Custody Arrangements

What about trying joint custody? You may be surprised at the number of possibilities in joint custody.

  • Some joint custody arrangements work by splitting a child’s time exactly 50/50 between his parents.
  • Other arrangements include one parent doing the majority of the time while the other parent has visitation rights periodically.

Most judges will want you to at least consider joint custody unless there is an immediate danger. If you are seeking help for child custody, you should be ready to consider it.

A custody schedule is generally considered to be joint physical custody if the child or children spend at least 35% of their time with each parent. In contrast, an unequal split, such as 70/30 custody or 80/20, means you have a custodial parent and a non-custodial parent.

Cooperate with the Other Parent

Whatever you do, try to cooperate with the other parent of your children. This will make you both look better if you have to take the matter to court.

Look at things from their perspective. On the other hand, do not automatically give into their wishes or let them have their way either.

It is important, however, that you try to meet the parent’s needs or expectations if it is safe for your children to do so. Because, in the end, it is not about winning a prize for beating the other person. But it is about what is best for the kids.

Seek Child-Focused Knowledge and Advice

There are many reasons to seek child custody help. Regardless why you are, remember two things. First, remember that your child’s best interest are priority. And remember that knowledge is power.

Don’t be reluctant to get breakup and custody help!

Categories
Separation

Parent Separation, Divorce in California

If you’re a parent going through separation or divorce in California or another state with similar laws, you should know that the divorce laws can affect what happens with child custody. Here is an outline of the key legal points for separating parents.

No-Fault Divorce

California, along with other states such as Colorado, has a modern approach to the problem which we’ve customarily come to know as divorce.

In fact, the State doesn’t use the phrase any longer in the legal parlance; this course of action is labelled as a “dissolution of marriage” process. This particular change is actually part of an effort by California lawmakers to foster a legal environment that facilitates cooperation and pragmatism.

Consequently, California is a no-fault divorce state. You can’t file for a dissolution of marriage based mostly on the reason of fault. The only grounds which are acknowledged are irreconcilable differences and, additionally, incurable insanity.

The State would rather that married couples that are divorcing figure out an arrangement voluntarily that they both find acceptable, and this is going to be particularly true when ever there are children involved.

No-fault divorce means courts do not have to consider the “bad behavior” of parents except in custody matters. While marriage impacts are ignored, certain behaviors could impact on the ability of a parent to raise a child or maintain an effective co-parenting relationship with the other party.

Contrast with At-Fault Divorce States

Within states where at-fault divorce proceedings are allowed, allegations of marital wrong doings could possibly impact judgements of the court on the subject of issues for example spousal support and even child custody. This certainly does create an incentive to allege fault. Yet, on many occasions, any behavior that may be specified wasn’t the true reason for the relationship breaking down.

Suggestions of fault cause a lot of ill will and also bad feelings, and not many if any situations can be exclusively attributable to the activities of just one person.

The moment the judge needs to settle custody issues in an adversarial environment, one or quite often both of the partners are inevitably likely to feel as if they were not dealt with fairly. This type of lingering unhappiness will be an issue that will negatively affect any children plus make it challenging for the former spouses to communicate going forward.

Finding Common Ground

Ideally, parents can agree on custody. A high priority is agreeing on a suitable custody schedule, such as joint custody or a 70/30 schedule. Having a judge choose a particular timetable could result in both parties being inconvenienced and one party seeing their child or children too infrequently.

The great news is that most partners can and do discover common ground and move through the dissolution of marriage proceeding having agreed on the conditions. Some 95% of divorce or dissolution procedures are usually uncontested, and the progressive nature of the no-fault procedure helps to encourage the kind of cooperation that makes this achievable. The other 5% does remain and the court is there to make the final judgement any time no arrangement can be arrived at.

If you are going through a divorce or dissolution of marriage action in California, the only responsible way to proceed is with an experienced Californian custody attorney representing you. A good divorce attorney can offer the assistance you’ll need.