Child Custody Is Not All or Nothing
When you vent to your friends about your divorce, it is easy to say something to the effect of you are worried that your ex-spouse will take your children away, or that your ex does not deserve to have custody. You probably know, even as you are speaking, that child custody is not a matter of all or nothing. In almost every family, the children will spend some days with you and others with your ex. The cases where a parent does not get any parenting time at all are very rare; that only happens when it would be extremely dangerous for the children to be around the parent, even in the presence of other adults and even for short periods of time. Some families are able to divide parenting time 50/50, but usually only works when the children are younger than school age. There are even families where the children stay in the marital home year-round, and the parents inhabit the house on alternating weeks. Every parenting plan is unique. A Tennessee child custody lawyer can help you find one that works for your family.
Different Parenting Schedules for Different Children Within the Same Family?
When Mitzi and Robert divorced in 2009, their older son was 15, and their younger son was 10. Their parenting plan included different schedules for each child. The parenting plan designated Robert the primary residential parent for the older son, while Mitzi was the primary residential parent for the younger son. This meant that the older son would spend weeknights with Robert, while the younger son would spend weeknights with Mitzi. The parents would alternate weekends of parenting time; Robert would be with both children on one weekend, and Mitzi would be with both of them on the next weekend. The parenting plan also included a provision that the younger son could visit Robert on weekday evenings whenever the parents verbally agreed to this.
This may sound like an unconventional arrangement, but for this family, it worked. (Robert appealed the divorce judgment, but his appeal was about finances, not parenting time.) The “weekday evenings at the parents’ discretion” clause worked well because of the parents’ work schedules; Robert owned a gym, while Mitzi worked at a veterinary clinic. Given the children’s ages, the arrangement also makes sense. The 15-year-old could have meaningfully expressed a preference to live with his father, and because the children’s school days and activities may have had different schedules, it may have made sense for each parent to be responsible for transporting one child to and from school and extracurricular activities. Besides, any parenting arrangement with a 15-year-old is, by nature, temporary. When the teen gets his drivers’ license, he will be able to travel back and forth between his parents’ houses as he chooses and to drive himself, and perhaps his younger brother, to school.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
A Knoxville child custody lawyer can help you develop a parenting plan that works for your family, not for everyone else. Contact Patrick L. Looper for help today.