It is important to know that custody and parenting time are different.
Our goal is to explain exactly what you need to know about each below,
so that you can make an informed decision on how to best protect your parenting rights.
Custody is about who has the tie-breaking authority to make major legal decisions regarding your children such as:
- Where your children will go to school
- Which doctors and dentists will be the primary physicians
- What type of activities your children will participate in
- Any other major issue that might need a tie-breaking decision
Parents will either agree to make these decisions together, in which case they can agree to an award of joint custody. The Court cannot force parents to agree to joint custody.
If parents cannot make these decisions together, and cannot agree to joint custody, the court must award sole custody to one of the parents.
The best way for our office to help you obtain custody of your children is to understand exactly why you want or need custody. Take extra time to think about why it is you want or need an award of sole custody before you come to the office for a consultation. We can have a very productive conversation about how to accomplish your goals.
Parenting time is about the schedule and requirements for when each parent has the children during the week:
- Is each parent going to have an equal amount of parenting time?
- What is the overnight schedule going to be?
- Are holidays going to be split evenly?
- Where are pick-up’s and drop-off’s going to happen?
- What happens when one parent is not available to watch one of the children, and the other is?
A Parenting Plan is the best tool to help outline and protect your time with your children.
Our office has crafted hundreds of parenting plans, and has successfully helped parents work through very difficult parenting time disputes. Creating a simple yet thorough parenting plan is essential to making sure your parenting time is protected.
When you come to our office for a consultation, we can provide you with a detailed template on how to best draft one of these plans.
Parenting plans are often the key to helping parents work together to raise their children. View the image to the left to see why creating a parenting plan can be helpful, or download the PDF.
Child support is usually determined based on a few major factors:
- Parenting time as laid out in the parenting plan
- Income of each parent
- Health care costs for the parents and children
- Child care costs
This is why it is very important to focus on drafting a parenting plan right the first time. We will help you understand exactly how a child support award is calculated, and help find ways to make sure that child support can be uniquely tailored to your situation.
How To Obtain Custody And Parenting Time
Parents will usually find themselves in one of two situations:
- They need an award of custody and parenting time during a divorce
- They are unmarried and need an award custody and parenting time for stability and peace of mind
We help parents in both situations. We also know that every parent and child has their own unique set of wants and needs. We will work hand in hand to understand your needs and find the best solutions.
Because custody and parenting time are different, the court must make two separate decisions:
- Which parent will be awarded sole custody?
- What form of parenting plan should be ordered?
These decisions determine everything from the final parenting schedule, the decision making authority of each parent, and the amount of child support that will be awarded. It is important that you take the time to properly prepare for the hearing where these decisions are made.
How Can Sherwood Family Law Help?
We will help you draft, file and serve the paperwork correctly by proposing the best custody arrangement and parenting plan for your children from the very start.
- We will help you through mediation, enroll in parenting classes and work toward a resolution when possible
- If we can reach agreements, we can show you how to avoid going to court entirely
- We are very successful at helping parents reach resolutions to custody and parenting time disputes
If a resolution is not possible, we will protect your right to custody and do everything possible to protect your relationship with your children by pursuing the custody and parenting plan that we will craft together.
Do I Need a Custody Lawyer?
Every parenting situation is different, and the laws regarding these issues can be complex and overwhelming. This is why having an attorney advise you on how to proceed is important. You want to make sure the court makes a custody and parenting time decision that is in the best interest of your children.
Schedule a consultation with our office to discuss your next steps: