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Parenting Time During A Pending Divorce

Parents going through a divorce must address how they will share time with their children. This process often starts with court-issued guidelines that simplify arrangements and reduce conflicts. However, standard solutions don’t always address every family’s specific needs, which makes it important to understand when and why deviations from these norms might be necessary.

Because there can be a lot of tension and threats about custody between spouses during the onset of a divorce, do take some comfort in knowing that the judicial system will provide initial parenting time guidelines that can last throughout your divorce process. Fit parents deserve to be with their children, and children need fit parents. Your attorney will take the time to learn about your family’s dynamic, and they will work to get modifications to the previously mentioned guidelines if necessary. These guidelines are merely starting points, and you as the parents can always adapt and adjust them to work for your family.

Guidelines & Modifications 

Standard parenting time guidelines are set forth at the commencement of divorce proceedings. These guidelines are designed to provide predictable and precise schedules, aiming to decrease disputes and maintain a level of normalcy for the children involved. Yet, as discussed in the opening section, these may not always be appropriate for every family. Situations involving safety concerns, significant geographical distances between parents, or unresolved cohabitation conflicts may require deviations and adjustments. 

With their ability to alter these guidelines, the courts ensure that children maintain consistent and beneficial contact with both parents. However, the definition of consistent and beneficial can differ significantly depending on each family’s situation. When standard visitation arrangements are impractical due to a family’s living conditions or specific safety issues, the courts are prepared to alter these guidelines. This flexibility helps ensure that, despite the ongoing divorce, children have meaningful interactions with both parents. These adaptations are essential for assisting parents in setting appropriate expectations and working together more amicably during the divorce process.

What Modifications Look Like & Why They Are Necessary 

When predefined parenting guidelines fall short of addressing specific familial needs, the courts consider various factors when crafting a parenting plan. The primary focus is always on the safety and well-being of the children. This includes evaluating the living conditions of each parent, the emotional and physical capacities of each parent to care for their children, and the level of cooperation between the parents concerning the proposed parenting plans. Additionally, the ability of parents to support their children’s educational and extracurricular commitments is considered. Pursuing mediation before litigation may be an efficient means of promoting collaboration when there is a disagreement or lack of cooperation. 

In Alabama, there is a general preference for joint legal custody unless contraindicated by factors like a history of violence. Joint custody is typically favored if requested, and there are no significant reasons to oppose it because it allows both parents to be actively involved in their kids’ lives. The courts also assess the children’s relationships with each parent and any evaluations from independent professionals. This approach allows judges considerable discretion in determining the most appropriate parenting arrangements, possibly adjusting standard visitation schedules to align with the parents’ work responsibilities and other relevant factors.

Empower Yourself, Protect Your Children 

Every family’s experience with divorce is distinct, and crafting a balanced parenting time arrangement can be complex. If you are undergoing a divorce and need advice on forming or adjusting a parenting schedule, set up a consultation with Empowered Family Law. Reach out today to discuss how we can support your family’s needs, ensure that your parenting arrangements reflect the best interests of your children, and respect your rights as a parent.

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Empowered Family Law, PC

With Empowered Family Law, you get an advocate who sees difficulties as opportunities for growth and emphasizes healing and problem-solving no matter how challenging your case.

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