By the time you have decided to file for
divorce from your spouse you will have hopefully thought long and hard about some
goals that you would like to accomplish during the process. Divorce is
not easy, but coming up with some goals and planning as best you can for
your life after divorce is one way to manage the difficulties and stresses
that come along with a divorce. How you life ends up looking when the
lawyers, the arguments and the judge goes away is due in no small part
to how well you managed to plot the course for the rest of your life.
If you have children then the most important part of your case involves
your family. The one part of parenting that many parents get up in arms
about in a divorce is the
possession aspect. How often you are physically able to have your children with you
is what matters most to many parents. Of course this is understandable.
You may have worries that the access and time that you previously had
with your children is going to be significantly curtailed as a result
of having to split custody with your spouse.
One area that parents tend to overlook, despite its relative importance
in parenting, is the
rights you hold as a parent to your child. When you are married you and your
spouse probably made many decisions about your children together as a
team. That’s not to say that in some areas your spouse may have
had more say or vice versa, but the law doesn’t get into how you
and your spouse made decisions for your children. Once you are divorced,
that all changes pretty quickly.
Final Decree of Divorce: Your Parenting Roadmap
If you get divorced then ultimately your and your spouse’s parenting
responsibilities will be outlined in your
Final Decree of Divorce. What you can and cannot do in addition to what your responsibilities
are gone over in detail within this document. If you have questions about
anything your Decree is the best resource to utilize in order to find answers.
Your rights as a divorced parent to receive information from your ex spouse,
go over big decisions with him or her prior to their being made or ability
to access medical and educational records of your child will be split
between the two of you in your Decree. The reason for this is that the
law no longer assumes that you and your spouse will be able to share in
these rights without issue. In fact, the reason why you are getting a
divorce may have a great deal to do with not being able to amicably share
in the rights to your children.
Many parents find that one parent is better suited to make decisions on
certain subjects and the other on different subject matter. During a marriage
this is fine and as long as those decisions are being made in the best
interests of your children there will not be any issue. However, once
you and your spouse are divorced the judge in your case will need to see
that the rights to your children are allocated in specific ways between
you and your spouse.
The right to designate the primary residence can be an important topic
in a divorce
One of the most highly litigated and argued about subject in a divorce
is the right to be able to determine the primary residence of your children.
This means the right to be able to either have your children reside with
you primarily or have them reside with your ex spouse primarily. I think
the reason for this goes back to what I had mentioned earlier about parents
keying in on time issues over and above anything else.
The parent with the right to determine the primary residence of your children
will have your children during the week for the school year and will have
certain weekends provided to him or her as well for weekend visitation. In a
Standard Possession Order if you are named the parent with the right to determine the primary residence
of your child then you will have possession of your child about 55% of
the year, with your spouse having the remaining 45%.
Other important rights that will be allocated in your divorce
The right to consent to medical, dental and surgical treatment involving
invasive procedures will be divided between you and your spouse. Often
times a “tie breaker” is appointed in the Decree in the event
that you and your spouse differ on whether your child should have a procedure
or not. Another important right to be divided is the right to make decisions
about your child’s education. Classes that he or she could be enrolled
in, whether or not to skip your child ahead a grade or hold her back are
all the sort of decisions considered in this right.
If you hold an independent right to make a decision involving these areas,
this means that you can make decisions without your other parent agreeing
with you. Often times you need to give written notice to the other parent
in advance of the decision being made. For example, if you believe that
your child should have a particular surgical procedure performed you often
must provide written notice to your ex-spouse. The reason for this is
to still allow the other parent to be informed and involved in the process
even if their approval is not required.
Questions about the allocation of parental rights in your divorce? Contact
the Law Office of Bryan Fagan
The impact of allocating specific rights to your children can be far reaching
and extremely important. If you have any questions on this subject or
any other in
family law please do not hesitate to
Law Office of Bryan Fagan today. A licensed family law attorney is available six days a week to
answer your questions in a free of charge consultation.