When a couple is divorcing, a child custody lawyer should be sought as soon as possible. This should be done not only to protect the best interests of the child, but to also decrease the chances of a lengthy dispute about custody and time sharing.
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In recent years, parenting time has become a more familiar term with divorcing couples, law firms, and the general public. While it is most common in Florida, other states are starting to encourage parenting time more often.
Up until recently, it was widely accepted that the more time a parent will spend with the child, the more benefits the child would receive. New studies suggest this is only part true. While spending time with a child is important, quality time is more important than how much time is spent. In other words, if a child spends most of their time around a parent who is often stressed out from work, they can be negatively impacted.
Many courts throughout the U.S. take this into consideration and don’t only think about the number of days a parent will spend with the child, but also the kind of time that can be given to the child. In other words, the child should spend time with both parents, but that time should be quality time and not necessarily equal time.
For many parents, this is difficult to understand and accept. Therefore, it is advisable to ask a child custody lawyer to help you with your parenting time. This is especially important when you’re having communications problems with your ex.
How the Court Decides Parenting Time
In general, parents are encouraged to create a parenting time plan. This should be presented to the court for approval. If this cannot be done, or the plan is not approved, the court will decide. Typically, the following factors will be considered:
- The wishes of the parents
- The interests of the child
- The wishes of the child (when the child is of a certain age)
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The caretaking functions of each parent
- The location in which each parent lives and the distance between them
- Whether abuse, addiction, or incarceration is a factor
It is possible for other factors to be considered. Therefore, talking with a child custody lawyer is recommended.