One of the main concerns of most of my clients who have children includes custodial arrangements, parenting time, and child support. Those things will affect you greatly, financially, and even more emotionally. Clients ask, “How do I protect myself?” or “How do I protect my children?” Obviously, the answers to these questions are determined on a case by case basis. Always tell your attorney about all of your concerns and all of the reasons why you want to have custody or the amount of parenting time that you want, or the amount of child support that will be required. How will child support be determined?
Several different types of custodial arrangements may fit your case. There’s joint residential custody, in which the parties share equal time with the children. That is the rarest form of custodial arrangements and can be done at the two different households. I’ve even seen households where one party stays in the home with the children for a specified period of time, such as three months, four months, or six months, and then the other party moves into the household for an equal amount of time. That way, the children never leave their home, only the parties do. Obviously, that’s a very rare occurrence, but I have seen more than a few occasions where that has occurred.
Far more frequently, the children might spend three days at one parent’s house and four days at the other – and then they may switch. One week it’s four days at one parent’s house and the next week, three days. Those plans are generally becoming far more common. Nowadays, parents seem to be seeing, through the court, a shift toward more of an equity – a parity – between parents in terms of parenting time. Whereas in the past, the mother would generally have the children living with her, and the father might have visitation every other week – maybe Friday to Sunday – you can now expect to see that change considerably. Fathers are now getting far more parenting time. As a result, they’re also paying less in child support because child support and the amount of time you spend with the child are related.