When people envision life after divorce, their minds turn to two main areas: kids and money.
Money is incredibly important, and often intertwined with custody of the kids, but I want to talk specifically about kids for a moment. Where the kids live (custody) and how much time they spend with each parent (parent-time) are the most important issues in any divorce.
Because these are the most important issues, parents always ask: how much parent-time do we each get with our kids?
No Easy Answers
There are no easy answers here. It all depends on so many factors: who is the primary parent, who is more stable, who is the children bonded to more, who can provide economically for the children, is there any criminal history or history of drug abuse, does one parent have a mental illness, etc.
It takes a pretty well developed system to gather and evaluate all of these factors, and then distill and present them to a judge. This is what our firm’s system is built to do, and this is why we only work divorce and child custody cases. We want to focus on one type of law so our system is finely tuned to maximize our client’s chance for success.
Usually, parent-time is decided between the parents. What I mean is we get together in mediation or other negotiations and work out parent-time between the parents. Sometimes, this is an easy process because everyone’s on the same page. Sometimes, it’s a bit more difficult because there’s a dispute about what parent-time is best for the children.
Even when there’s a dispute, we can usually work through differences and come up with a parent-time plan both parents can live with. People instinctively know long, drawn-out legal battles aren’t that great for kids.
Doing What’s Right
What parent-time really comes down to is what’s best for children. Parents can get so caught up in what they want, that they don’t really think through what’s best for their kids.
We try to work collaboratively with our clients to determine what’s in their children’s best interests and work toward that goal. If that means the other parent gets minimum time, then that’s the goal we work toward. If, after talking with our clients, we agree 50/50 is best for the kids, then that’s what we strive for.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parent-time, we work with our clients to do what’s right for their kids in their particular situation.