Whose Weekend Is It, Anyway?
Having a successful co-parenting relationship is an important part of raising a child when you’re not with the other parent, but it can also be the most difficult.
When you have a child with someone, you don’t get to do the petty things that you feel like doing when you break up with an ex. You both have to be “the bigger person” and put personal feelings aside to ensure that your child’s life is full of love, stability, and support.
You may think that staying out of family court by keeping your custody plan private is better, but you could be making a mistake. When there is nothing set down legally, that gives people leeway to make changes to the rules.
For example: it’s the holidays, and you previously agreed with your ex that the children would be with you during the day and go to their other parent at night, but the day of, you get a phone call saying that plans have changed and now your kids won’t be dropped off until the next day. You can argue, curse, and demand that your children be brought to you as scheduled, but that doesn’t change anything. What do you do now? You don’t have a legally enforceable contract.
There are many scenarios that could happen when you don’t go through the courts. It’s best to get a lawyer like Sheryl R. Rentz, who has experience handling child custody in Montco. She and her staff can help you come to an agreement that fits the best interest of your family. Going through the courts does not mean you are trying to take rights away from the other parent. It simply provides a roadmap for both parents to follow to ensure that things go smoothly and everyone is protected.
What’s The Worst That Can Happen?
When your parental rights are not protected by the courts, it’s easier for the other parent to take those rights from you. You could run into issues with the child being withheld from you by your ex or one of their family members, or your ex could move to a different state with your child. Long-distance parenting will put a strain on the relationship and limit how often you can be in the child’s life.
If there is a custody agreement in place, your ex will have to get approval from the courts before changing any aspect of the joint custody ruling—and will get in trouble if he or she doesn’t give you your appointed time with the child.
For example, if your ex wants to move out of state with the child, he or she will have to be prove to the courts that this move is in the best interests of the child. Pennsylvania family courts do not like to remove a child from his or her established routine, and they see a move as doing just that. They will most likely side with the parent who wants the child to stay in the current location, but if the relocating parent can show compelling reasons for the move, then the custody order will be revised to guarantee that the noncustodial parent will still be able to see the child. In most of these cases, the child spends the school year with one parent and the summer and holidays with the other. Additionally, if the child is old enough, the judge may ask if he or she wants to go with the relocating parent.
If you are the one looking to move, a relocation lawyer can provide examples of how the move will benefit the child.
Go Through Family Court with the Help of a Good Lawyer
No matter how good or bad your parenting situation is, having an unbiased person in the mix to help you make sound decisions for your children is always a good call. Going to court doesn’t mean that you are angry or trying to “get back” at your ex. You are simply providing an extra layer of protection for each other, and more importantly, for your child.
To speak to a Pennsylvania family law attorney about your situation, please call the Law Offices of Sheryl R. Rentz, P.C., at (610) 645-0100.We offer a free initial consultation.