One of the many joys in our lives is watching our children grow and mature. Whether it was an angry divorce or an amicable one, both parents must contend with the truth that a child’s needs change over time.
Whether I am mediating visitation arrangements or representing a client at a custody hearing, I always recommend creating a custody agreement that can be easily modified. Whether it’s a change of job or the purchase of a new home, it’s important to ensure your parental rights are protected – no matter what changes life brings.
Creating a Parenting Plan
From infancy to adulthood, it is important to protect your legal right to meet your child’s needs whenever and wherever possible. As an experienced divorce attorney, I have helped many clients create parenting plans that balance factors like pickups, drop offs, and major life events (graduations, birthdays, etc.).
So, what makes a successful parenting plan? When creating a custody agreement, I encourage clients to consider these factors:
- Distance between houses. If both parents live close to each other (within 30 minutes to an hour), equally distributed time tends to be more feasible.
- Spousal maintenance and child support agreements. These can affect the distribution of time if the disputing parties cannot agree on a parenting plan.
- Age of the children. Young children have a harder time being away from parents for extended periods of time, which tends to create custody arrangements that last for hours every few days. With older children, on the other hand, custody arrangements can span weeks or even months.
- The parenting relationship. The cooperation of both parents is important to a successful parenting plan. Bitter and angry feelings can significantly impact time restrictions.
- Visitation times. Do you work irregular hours or have other commitments that occur when your child needs to be picked up from school? It is important to communicate these concerns with your attorney so the judge can be aware of potential problems.
Regardless of how you may feel about your ex-partner, the judge is legally obligated to make a ruling that represents the best interests of a child in any custody arrangement. Judges take into account age, development, and may even ask a child if they have a preference of parent.
Sharing Time Equally Changes Over Time
Custody judges recognize that children go through various stages of development as they age. But, what makes sense for a toddler may feel overwhelming for an adolescent.
It is a good idea to revisit the comfort and desirability of your custody arrangement every two to three years to match the progress of a child’s development. This gives each parent the opportunity to not only rework custody agreements to meet their own needs (if you have a new job, move to another town, etc.), but also the needs of their children (if they are struggling in school, want to spend more time with one parent, etc.).
Protect Your Parental Rights Today
As an experienced child custody attorney, I can help you protect your parental rights and fight for the custody agreement you desire. Contact us today to schedule your FREE consultation and discuss your concerns with Gordon N. Shayne.
Disclaimer: The blogs posted on ShayneLaw.com are offered for informational purposes only. These blogs are not a solicitation for legal business and should not be construed as providing any legal advice or legal opinions as to any specific fact or circumstance. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of an appropriate legal professional. To obtain legal advice or opinions about Colorado family law, personally consult with a licensed Colorado attorney.