Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Untraditional Custody Plans

For those dissatisfied with the traditional forms of custody, I suggest taking a good look at Untraditional Custody Plans from Divorce and Family Law in Tarrant County, Texas:

"There were two alternatives mentioned in the article that were interesting. One, which is becoming more common, is to have equal time. It used to be that judges would never consider that. Now, however, there seems to be more openness to such an approach. 'Equal time' is easy to discuss in the abstract, but can be complicated when day care, homework, school activities and extra-curricular activities are factored in. Sometimes, religious activities also complicate matters. It's probably too early to say that there is a consensus that such a time sharing is good or bad for the kids or that both parents like the arrangement. Trying such an approach would require a lot of cooperation and maturity with the parents. Living close together would also be helpful. If parents really think they want to try to share time equally, they would be well advised to bring in a child specialist who could help them work through the practical details and adjustments that would be required for success.

Another possibility is to set a proportionate schedule where each parent has the children about the same amount of time that they were with the children when the couple was together. Of course, there are some potential difficulties with that approach. The parties would need to live near each other, preferably in the same"


How to be a successful custody innovator:

1. Don't limit yourself to preconceived ideas or standard approaches.

2. At the same time, even though a particular plan may have worked for someone you know, don't assume that it will automatically work for you.

3. The parents must communicate well with each other for a major time-sharing arrangement to work.

4. Parents must be willing to live near each other and have a lot of contact after the divorce.

5. Counseling or co-parenting classes can help foster the right parental attitudes.

6. Parents probably need to consult with a child specialist to work out the details, especially if they try something really exotic. Keep in mind the children's ages and emotional development.

7. Always check with your attorney to find out if your judge is likely to accept what you are proposing.

Think about these ideas for a while. I would add be practical about the effects on the child - stretching the child too thin is not a good thing. Remember the court will focus on the child and not on the parents.

Let me use Case Law Development: Trial Court follows dissent to allow co-parent claim from Family Law Prof to illustrate this point:

According to LawProf Art Leonard:

New York County Supreme Court Justice Harold B. Beeler has allowed NY Court of Appeals Chief Judge Judith Kaye's dissent in the 1991 case of Alison D. v. Virginia M. To guide his steps in ruling that a woman should have a hearing to attempt to establish that she is a “de facto parent” of the child born to her former same-sex domestic partner, who was also her New York City registered domestic partner and her Vermont civil union partner. Debra H. v. Janice R., No. 106569/080.

Professor Leonard's discussion of the case can be found at his blog, Leonard Link, here.

The following is from Professor Leonard's blog:
If Debra’s allegations are proven at the hearing, Beeler found, they would show that she was in fact a parent of M.R., and should be entitled to continue in a parental role if that is in the best interest of the child. Beeler forecast a series of two hearings in the case, the first to determine whether Debra’s allegations are true, and the second to take evidence about whether it would be in the best interest of M.R. for the court to order that Debra be allowed to continue to play a parental role in the child’s life. In the meantime, Beller continued in effect a temporary order that he had issued allowing visitation several times a week between Debra and M.R., with a third adult present at all times.
If the non-traditional cusotdy plan does benefit the child more than the parent, put it forward.

No comments: