Should Our Child Have a Say in Parenting Time?
Parenting time is a very important part of the post-divorce family dynamic. You and your spouse will have to share parenting responsibilities after your divorce is finalized and all other areas of your life are divided. You will need to carefully consider where your child will live and when they will spend time with the other parent. These decisions, although just a few of the many you will have to make, will have a big impact on your child’s life. You are tasked with scheduling parenting time in a way that looks out for the best interests of your child, but knowing what is best for your child isn’t always clear in the midst of a divorce. Your child might have an opinion on what is best for them, but should you take their opinion into consideration when working out a parenting time schedule with your spouse? This is an important question.
Pre-divorce, you may have let your child have a say in many family decisions. In a divorce, however, some of your family decisions will be under the scrutiny of a judge. Your decisions will have legal consequences and have to be approved by a judge in order to be finalized with your divorce. The judge will consider many factors when evaluating your custody and parenting time agreement between you and your spouse. The health, safety, and well being of your child will be the main considerations. The judge will not approve a custody and parenting time arrangement that compromises the health and safety of your child. The judge will only consider your child’s preference for parenting time if he or she is mature enough to make a rational decision. The courts may view giving your child a say in the matter as potentially harmful if your child is not ready to handle such a decision.
Parenting time is a critical component of custody negotiations. Consult with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator if you and your spouse want to work out an arrangement that meets your needs and is beneficial to your child. A mediator can help you and your spouse negotiate your parenting time schedule amicably and cooperatively. This can help minimize the involvement of the court in the matter.
If you have questions about scheduling parenting time, contact Mediation Advantage Services for expert help. Experienced in divorce mediation, Polly A. Tatum can help you amicably mediate your divorce and ensure your parenting time schedule meets your family’s needs. Based in historic Worcester with a satellite office in Northboro, MA, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free e-book for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.