When parents of minor children determine they will no longer live together, it becomes necessary to determine how in the future the parents will share the rights and responsibilities of parenting their children from separate households. The emotional and financial costs of custody litigation can be dramatically reduced if the parents can, either in the context of mediation or through negotiations guided by their attorneys, agree on a parenting time schedule that meets the best interests of their children. Such a parenting plan will typically allow the children to have frequent and continuing contact with both parents, but will not necessarily result in the children spending equal amounts of time in each parent’s care. In some situations involving abandonment, abuse or neglect, it may be in the children’s interest to reduce or restrict the children’s contact with one or both of the parents. If the parents are able to agree on a custody schedule, that schedule will be submitted to the Court to become a judgment of the Court, which will then be enforceable by the Court’s contempt powers.

Sometimes the parents will not agree on a parenting time schedule, in which case the Judge will have to determine the schedule she or he thinks would be best for the children, considering the particular facts and circumstances of the parties.  The factors the Judge considers in making this determination include, but are not limited to:

  •             The desires of the parents

  •             The desires of the children

  •             The interaction or relationship between the children and their parents and siblings

  •             The children’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community

  •             The character and circumstances of all individuals involved

  •             The need to promote continuity and stability in the life of the child

  •             Any history of domestic violence in the home

Some of the factual circumstances of the parties the Court will consider in evaluating the factors listed above include:

  •             How the parents have historically divided parental roles and duties

  •             The degree to which each parent is willing to facilitate the relationship of the children with the other parent

  •             Each parent’s work/commute schedule

  •             Work-related child care arrangements

  •             How close the parents live to each other and to the children’s schools

  •             Any history of criminal behavior and/or substance abuse

  •             Each parent’s living situation (home size, roommates, financial independence, etc)

At Vail Family Law we understand how important your children are to you. We want to help you and your children make this difficult transition, so you can rebuild, look forward to a brighter future, and take the steps forward into those better days. We will explore the likelihood of reaching a negotiated agreement concerning an acceptable custody schedule. If a reasonable custody agreement cannot be reached, then we will help you properly present your case to the judge in an effort to secure a custody arrangement that makes the best sense for your children.

Contact Vail Family Law for a free child custody consultation today
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