Getting married, buying a house, having kids, getting a dog and living happily ever after may have all been in your life plan. While you may have reached most of those milestones, the happily ever after part seems out of reach. Unfortunately, your once-happy marriage has turned sour, and now your life plan includes getting a divorce, finding a new place to live and trying to spend as much time with your kids as possible.
Understandably, you may have serious concerns about the child custody aspect of your divorce case. You may worry that the court will not see you favorably for whatever reason or that your role as parent will receive a downgrade to every-other-weekend chauffer. Before you start thinking about worst-case scenarios, you may want to remember that you have legal rights and options as a parent.
Can you work with the other parent?
Many Pennsylvania parents may not realize that the court does not have to have the entire say when it comes to custody terms. In fact, if you and the other parent can get along well enough, you may be able to discuss and negotiate custody terms on your own. If you can act amicably and understand the importance of the children having both of you in their lives, you could reach an agreeable arrangement that allows both of you to have a significant amount of time with the kids.
It is important to keep in mind, however, that the court will have to approve any plan you and the other parent come up with. Still, as long as your plan represents the best interests of the children and does not present any legal issues, the court will likely approve it.
What if you cannot work together?
Of course, many couples divorce because they can no longer seem to agree on anything, including the kids. If that is your case, the court will likely have to issue a custody order. This process can be more complicated than simply coming to terms with the other parent outside of court, but it does not mean that you cannot work toward the outcome you desire. You can do your part to show the court that you are an upstanding parent who wants to actively be in your children’s lives.
Whether you want to come to terms outside of court or will need the court to make the decisions, it is important that you have a legal advocate on your side. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help ensure the protection of your parental rights and provide you with reliable information on your custody options.