Wendy Hodge January 6, 2022 Parenting
Millions of Americans have grown up in households with a step-parent. Whether a stepmother or stepfather, it is not uncommon for children to become just as attached to a step-parent as to the corresponding biological parent. In some cases children may only barely know that biological parent. Despite such a close bond, if the child`s parent and step-parent divorce, it can be difficult for the step-parent to gain legal visitation or custody rights.
When it comes time to negotiate with the other parent about changes to the parenting plan, hopefully you are both on the same page about the changes. If the other parent is not open to the revisions, you may need to enter into some negotiations to change the parenting plan on your children`s behalf.
Another key issue in making a joint custody parenting plan work is proximity to the other parent. When children have to shuffle between households frequently, it leaves them feeling unsettled, distracted and conflicted. You both can minimize those feelings by remaining in close proximity to each other and to your children`s schools and friends. When transitions between homes are smooth and conflict-free, joint custody can benefit children.
In some cases, the non-custodial parent will refuse to return the children because they fear for the child. In this case, the non-custodial parent must file a petition within 96 hours to prove his or her case or else be charged with kidnapping. If the child has not been returned by the non custodial parent, a police report must be filed immediately. The Federal Bureau of Investigation usually assists in parental abductions since many of the involve taking children across state lines. Finally, anyone who has been granted visitation must abide by the court order. If not, he or she will face contempt charges. While jail sentences only happen in rare cases, a judge could order jail time for a parent that violates the order.
The family court wants to see an arrangement that represents the best interests of the children. Ideally, both parents will work together to be involved in their children`s lives and will set up a reasonable arrangement that does not disrupt their environment too much.
Bring your own version of a parenting plan to mediation, because that helps you get your thoughts organized and down on paper. Preparing a plan gives you time to think about custody preferences, financial obligations, how and where your children should spend their days, and how your family will spend holidays and vacations.
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