If you have children, an attorney can help you to navigate through the choppy waters of a custody dispute. Going through a divorce is never easy and when children are involved it is even more complicated. Instead of being able to simply divide your assets there are important decisions to be made that will impact your life, and the life of your child, until they turn eighteen.
While married, there are simple day to day decisions that are made about your children without really thinking about them. Things like transportation to and from school, visiting the grandparents, attending family birthday parties, and buying new shoes are simply things that are done – rather than discussed. Once divorced, these things are no longer simple. That is why the court requires a thorough parenting plan to be written that makes allowances for these normal life activities.
As an attorney we ask our clients to start thinking about the following and consider how they would want to handle them:
· Schooling. Where do you want your child to attend school, both now and in the future? Your parenting plan can specify this along with whether the decision is made by one parent, or both.
· Transportation. Who is responsible for transporting the children to and from school or to and from one parents’ house to the other? When it comes to exchanging the children, drop off days, times, and locations can all be specified.
· Special Occasions. Consider every day or event that you deem to be a special occasion and specify where the children are (what parent they are with) on each of those days. This will obviously include major holidays, but there are other family events that should be taken into consideration. For example, list the birthday for every family member that is involved in the children’s lives. If you don’t list your Grandma and the children are supposed to be with your ex-spouse that day, they will probably be unable to go to your Grandma’s birthday party. It is better to be thorough.
· Clothing. Will each parent to be responsible for purchasing the children clothing that is worn at their house or is one parent going to buy all of their clothes with the other one reimbursing them? Consider how you want to handle this so that there is no confusion.
· Toys. The children probably have a lot of toys that were accumulated throughout the course of your marriage. Who gets to keep what at their house? If you don’t specify, the spouse keeping your primary home may get all of the toys with it.
As an experienced attorney, we can help you to sort through these issues as part of your divorce and help you to sort through disputes after the fact. Even if your divorce has been settled, you can go back and revise custody issues at a later date. For more information or a consultation give us a call, and we will be happy to assist you.