As Georgia couples move forward with a divorce and plan for their post-marital lives, it is easy to forget how the case can impact children. It is unfortunate that kids frequently get caught square in the middle of a divorce case, but it happens. For both parents, the custody and parenting time plan are of paramount importance.
Once primary custody has been decided upon, the noncustodial parent will want to make sure they get as much parenting time as possible. In some instances, they can agree on their own and submit a parenting plan to the court. In others, the court must formulate the parenting plan for them. Regardless, it is imperative to know what the law says about these sensitive issues so a workable agreement can be reached and followed.
What does state law say about parenting time?
The parenting plan will hinge on the child’s best interests being served. If there has been abuse in the past and a child’s safety is at risk, there is no requirement to follow the law for parenting plans. Short of that, the parenting plan must include specific provisions.
The sides must accept and acknowledge that the child should have a strong relationship with both parents. To achieve that, there will be consistent contact, they will spend time together and it will be regular and predictable. As the child gets older, the plan must adapt. If, for example, at the time of the divorce, the child is a toddler, the needs will differ from when the child ages and is in grade school, middle school and high school.
The parent who has physical custody will be making the decisions for the child. Both parents have the right to receive information about the child whether it is school records, medical records, extracurricular activities, religious upbringing or anything else that is relevant. The parents will need to come to an agreement on transportation during exchanges, where it will happen and who will pay for it.
It is preferable for the parents to work together and be flexible. If there is an event that one parent wants to attend with the child and the other parent has parenting time that day, this could be negotiated with a trade of days or exchange of some sort. If they are not on good terms, this may need to be addressed legally.
To make sure a parenting time agreement is fair, it is useful to have legal advice
Noncustodial parents are understandably worried about their parenting time and that the plan will be adhered to. This can be emotional and stoke fear. Still, being protected by experienced professionals who are fully aware of the perspective of the noncustodial parent and will do whatever they can to make sure a fair agreement is reached can be helpful from the start.
Simply because a marriage did not work out should not filter down to the children. With an effective and fair parenting plan, the child will see both parents, have all their needs served and fore a strong relationship with them. To be fully protected, though, it is essential to have caring assistance that will consider the options, negotiate and go to court if necessary. A firm with a strong presence in Georgia and familiarity with the culture and the people who reside there is important. Calling qualified family law professionals is vital to achieve the desired goals.