Finding yourself in family court, dealing with the divorce process as well as a temporary parenting plan and child custody matters can be a difficult time, no matter how amicable you and your ex-partner are. The battle for child custody is often one of the hardest things a parent will go through in their lifetime, especially if there is confusion regarding child custody rights. Even in the simplest and easiest of cases, many children will need to see a child psychologist to deal with their parents' divorce, as well as the stress minor children, find themselves under during child custody proceedings.
It can be extremely hard to protect your child from conflict stemming from child custody issues or your child custody hearing, which is why hiring child custody attorneys is always recommended. Not only does it take the weight off your back trying to find out your rights as a parent and what kind of custody arrangement you should be trying for, but having a lawyer help with a parenting plan can ensure that your child support agreements are fair and correct.
At Tommalieh Law, we know that there is nothing more important to a parent than the physical and mental health of their children, and we are here to support and realize your needs and your child's needs, no matter what they are.
Why Should You Hire a Lawyer to Help With a Parenting Plan?
In the most basic sense, bringing in a lawyer to help with your parenting plan can remove a lot of emotion from your case. While dealing with your ex-partner and with custody issues, there is naturally a lot of emotion involved, but communicating with your co-parent through legal representation can help settle a lot of that emotion.
Custody disputes are major decisions, and it's important for the mental health of both parents and all involved children that decisions are made that are the best for the children, which does often mean trying to turn off your emotions. Being able to take a step back, and lower the emotional strain on both sides, can help ensure that reasonable visitation schedules, child support, and other plans are reached as amicably as possible.
What Should You Include in a Co-Parenting Agreement?
Another good reason to consult child custody lawyers is that many people do not realize everything your permanent or temporary parenting plans should include, leaving a judge to fill in the gaps if you haven't included everything you need. If you and your ex-partner belong to different religions or even different denominations of the same religion, you would need to include wording to make sure that your children are able to participate in and learn about both religious beliefs, else you may find your ex-partner attempting to sour your child to your religion.
This can apply to many different situations. If your parenting plan doesn't include the correct wording for joint custody, you may find yourself with only visitation rights and no legal custody or decision-making responsibilities.
Even the most basic parenting plan should include specific wording regarding:
- Child Custody & visitation
- Holiday and Vacation parenting time
- Regular parenting time
- Consistent day-to-day parenting decisions
- Allocation of all parental responsibilities
- In-depth breakdown of all bills each parent must pay for the child, not including child support payments (i.e. medical bills, tuition payments, extracurricular activities payments, etc)
- School-related matters such as attendance, academic clubs, school trips
- child care for non-school aged minor children
- Right of first refusal
- Protection plans for your child (this can be anything from issues with bullying to child abuse allegations)
- Allowing or disallowing the relocation of a parent and what will happen if one parent decides to move, for any reason
- The right to Remediation for both parents, so that the child custody and child support arrangements can be revisited at any time, at the request of either parent, for any legitimate reason, such as lowering or raising of salaries or work hours
If you find yourself needing to research any of these listed topics, or the difference between legal custody and physical custody, or even what "parent in contempt" means, then it may be best to trust your legal matters to experienced attorneys who can make sure that your legal issues are resolved with the best possible outcome for your child.
Do You Still Need Help With a Divorce if You Agree on a Parenting Plan?
No matter how well you and your ex get along, bringing in a lawyer to make sure your interests and parental rights are still protected. While your ex-partner might not be trying to screw you over, unless you both have a deep and true knowledge of the system, you can find yourself accidentally screwing up your parental rights in a serious, and sometimes permanent way.
For example, your ex-partner might be going through a hard time financially, and you may agree to a higher child support obligation under the impression that these high child support payments will only be temporary, but you will have a hard time having that amount lowered later on without being able to prove that your own income decreased. And if your income did not decrease, there aren't many options. With the help of a parenting plan attorney, you will be able to make sure that the language in your child support obligation agreement includes a decrease in payments after a certain time or when certain conditions have been met.
This can also have a bad effect on visitation schedules and cause many child custody issues. While a flexible schedule may work at first, it leaves the non-custodial parent at the whim of the custodial parent, which can lower the amount of physical custody you have, as well as affect parental rights and parent-child relationships when you aren't able to see your child as much as you want to or should be seeing them.
Learn how Our Family Law Firm can Help You
It's always important to remember that anytime you are dealing with the court system, seeking legal advice is always encouraged, especially when you are dealing with any kind of important decisions made about your minor child and legal custody of them. There is no reason to leave any decision about custody in the hands of a judge who does not know you or your ex-partner.
At Tommalieh Law, your initial consultation is always free, so that we can sit down with you and learn about you, your child, and your case before you ever have to spend a dollar. Your child custody agreement should leave everyone as happy as possible, and most importantly your parenting plan should ensure that the physical and mental health and wellbeing of your child are at the forefront at all times. Our goal is always to make sure that our clients, and their children, are protected and taken care of on all fronts. Call our family law firm today to learn how we can help you.