Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

Tips To Help You Establish And Maintain Proper Parenting Time After A Separation

Brayden Miles

Going through a legal separation can be an emotional experience that may leave you feeling angry, sad, and everything in between. Unfortunately, the emotions that children experience are far worse since the situation is often very confusing for them. Everything that they have grown accustomed to is suddenly torn apart. For that reason, it is important set aside your emotions for the sake of your child in order to establish and maintain reasonable parenting time. Fortunately, there are tips that can help you.

Obtain the Proper Legal Forms for Parental Visitation

As the custodial parent, it is up to you to ensure that your child receives plenty of time to visit with the non-custodial parent. Although you can establish and agree upon a parenting time schedule out of court, it is always best to take a legal course of action. By going through the court system to establish parenting time, you legally protect the best interests of yourself, your child, and your child's other parent.

In order to proceed with parental visitation, you will need to obtain a legal form known as a petition for parenting time. The petition for parenting time will need to be filled out completely and accurately before submitting it to your local courthouse. If you have a lawyer, your lawyer can assist you in ensuring that the paperwork is filled out properly.

Typically, when you fill out the petition for parenting time, you will include your name, address, your child's name, and the name of the other parent. If a custody order has been made, you will need to provide the case number for the custody order. If you are currently receiving any child support, you will usually be asked to include this information.

Most importantly, you will need to provide information as to the type of parenting schedule you would like to see put in place. Keep in mind that despite your requests, the judge may decide upon a completely different schedule. For instance, if you request that the other parent receive a standard visitation schedule of every other weekend and one night a week, the judge may decide that a week on, week off schedule is in the best interest of your child.

Follow-Through with the Court's Final Orders

Once you submit your legal forms, the court will review them and hold a hearing. At that hearing, the judge will listen to both you and your ex in order to make a decision regarding parenting time. Depending on the age of your child, the judge may also make a request to speak with the child to see what it is the child wants. Once the final decision is made, you will need to ensure that you follow through with the parenting time schedule put into place.

As was already mentioned, you may feel a wide range of emotions about the separation between you and your ex. However, you must set those emotions aside in order to fulfill the court's request for parenting time. An estimated 40% of mothers are reported to have purposely interfered with a father's scheduled visitation as a way to punish him.

Whether you are the mother or the father, interfering with scheduled visitations is not good for you, your child, or your ex. In fact, the person who is most hurt by such actions is the child. Instead, take it upon yourself to encourage your child to visit the other parent. Do your best to make your child feel comfortable about the idea of visits.

The best way to ensure that you follow through with visits is to assist your child in making the visits as easy as possible. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this:

  • Providing the other parent access to speak with the child over the phone, through email, and through social media on days that they are not visiting
  • Let your child know that they will be just as safe, loved, and taken care of with the other parent as they are when they are with you
  • Allow your child to bring something comforting such as a blanket or stuffed animal to help ease any apprehension about the visit
  • Make sure you have a way to contact your child while he or she is visiting the other parent
  • Never make any negative remarks about the other parent, particularly in front of the child
  • Never force the child to take sides between you and the other parent

If a parenting time schedule is already in place and you feel you need to make changes to that schedule, contact your attorney or the local court house in order to obtain legal forms that allow you to revise established parenting time. If this is your first time setting up parenting time, it may be in your best interest to speak with a legal representative like those found at Carolina Legal Education Center, LLC so that you can ensure everything is filled out and submitted properly.


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Adoption 101: The Legal Fundamentals

If you've decided that you want to adopt a child, the first thing you should do is reach out to a family law attorney. While it may not seem logical to get an attorney involved from the start, it's important that you protect yourself legally from the beginning. After making the decision to adopt, I have been through the process several times. I created this site to help other adoptive parents understand what they can expect from the entire process, including the legal support you're likely to need. I hope this information helps you feel more confident in this major life decision.