There are many situations where two people who are not in a relationship need to co-parent. Whether you are divorcing your spouse or separating from a partner with whom you share a child, it is important that each parent has access to their child unless there are safety concerns for the child. Developing a parenting plan is often crucial in building a successful relationship between parents who are not together, as it clearly lays out expectations and boundaries pertaining to co-parenting.
It is often to the benefit of everyone involved if the parents are able to create a mutually satisfying agreement that considers what is most beneficial for the child. A parenting plan attorney can help facilitate communication between parties to build a successful strategy. It can also help you if the case must proceed to litigation. Lassiter & Lassiter offers full-service legal representation for parenting plan cases in Statesville. We understand how emotionally draining these cases can be, and our team can help support you and your child through this process.
A parenting plan is an agreement between co-parents that documents the requirements and responsibilities of each parent after a divorce or separation. The plan is meant to cover the multitude of issues that parents generally encounter while parenting with someone they are not in a relationship with. The parenting plan will specify day-to-day living but also less-common situations like medical care, holidays, extracurriculars, and school.
There are three types of parenting plans:
Because consent orders are the most legally enforceable, they are recommended in any situation where one parent cannot be implicitly trusted to act in the interests of the child or is assumed to be unwilling to follow the agreed-upon terms.
If the parents are unable to agree on a part, or even any part, of a parenting agreement, the court will step in and create a plan that focuses on the interests of the child. The court can also step in if one parent is not currently fit to have significant parenting time with the child. The parents must abide by the order or potentially be punished by the court for contempt.
It is to the benefit of the child to create a plan that provides the most stability and support, especially when the child is leaving a situation with two parents in the home to splitting their time between two separate homes. Although each family is unique, there are a few topics that should be addressed in every parenting plan:
Discussing each of these topics in a negotiation or mediation provides a calm environment that allows each parent to evaluate what is most beneficial for the child. Waiting until any conflicts arise can create an adversarial situation that makes it difficult to consider the child’s interests. A parenting time attorney can help you find applicable topics that should be addressed in your family’s plan.
Physical custody refers to which parent the child is to spend their time with. The child will either spend a roughly equal amount of time with each parent or a majority of the time with one parent. Legal custody refers to the authority to make the final decisions on important matters like medical care, education, and religion. The joint and sole classification applies to both physical and legal custody.
Generally, child support and parenting time orders are put in place by a judge, and failure to follow either can result in penalties. If a parent stops paying child support, a Motion for Contempt can be filed with the court. The other parent can also file a Motion for Contempt if you stop following the parenting time agreement, making you both at fault.
There is no set age where a North Carolina court will consider a child’s desire with respect to where they will live. In instances where the court believes that the child is of suitable age and maturity to testify, they can submit their wishes to the court. However, the court does not have to consider this preference when determining custody rights.
A permanent child custody agreement can be modified, but a substantial change of circumstances must be proven. The change can be either positive or negative, but you must be able to show that it affects the child. Once this is shown, the judge can make a new ruling that considers the interests of the child.
Lassiter & Lassiter has the skills and resources needed to support you while creating a parenting plan that considers the interests of your child. For a consultation with a law firm that offers personal attention and a comfortable atmosphere, reach out to Lassiter & Lassiter today.
Call our office at 704-873-2295 or email us today.
Attorney Mike Lassiter grew up in Statesville, makes his living serving the people of Statesville and published a book capturing the changing landscape of small town life across North Carolina and Iredell County. His keen sense of history, dedication to the area and 30 years of legal experience make him an ideal attorney for your legal needs.
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