As a parent, your kids are your world – and if you’re facing divorce, protecting your parental rights becomes a major priority after finalization. From visitation and communication to decisions that affect their futures, you retain certain rights as long as you’re not deemed unfit to parent. But how can you ensure that those rights are amply protected?
Preserve your parental rights by following our quick six-step guide, and if you can’t settle on certain aspects of your parenting plan, don’t hesitate to consult an Orange County divorce mediator to establish an agreement.
6 Steps to Protecting Your Parental Rights
1. Your Kids Come First
When you’re faced with divorce, it’s easy to get caught up in the complications of property division, custody conflicts, and financial struggles – leaving your kids in the wind. But really, they should be your top priority. They’re struggling too, after all. Continue to spend quality time with them, and stick to their daily routines as closely as possible. This will help them with the family transition, and may help when proving to the court that you’re a capable parent.
2. Consult a Trusted Family Lawyer
General divorce and custody concerns almost always call for a legal expert. If you’re going through a divorce, you may already have an attorney by your side. If not, consult an Orange County divorce attorney before your case has begun to fill them in on your situation. If your parental rights are being violated in any way, your attorney will inform you on how to best respond and protect your parental rights.
3. Talk to Your Co-Parent
Communication is key to parenting post-divorce. By figuring out how you two can collaborate as co-parents once the divorce is final, your children’s best interests will be tended to. So, schedule a time to sit down with your ex-spouse and plan accordingly. We’d suggest resolving any custody issues with a temporary visitation arrangement, so that you don’t have to schedule each subsequent visit.
4. Settle on a Parenting Plan
An agreeable parenting plan will save you countless conflicts down the line. By outlining every aspect of visitation, including holidays and vacation time, you and your spouse won’t have to constantly discuss your next visit. We’d also suggest including details about how your children will be transported to and from each home, in the spirit of documenting everything and covering your bases.
5. Document Everything
Documenting everything you do with your child will help to prove your relationship to the court. It can help to keep tabs on things like photos, mementos, crafts, and more. You should also record your caretaking duties and any classes or extracurriculars you’ve enrolled your children in, as well as any purchases.
6. Record Obstructions to Your Parental Rights
Finally – and crucially – if you’ve been denied access to your child, write it down. By keeping track of emails, texts, or any other form of communication that proves your parental rights are being breached, you’ll have firm proof to present to the court. This also applies if your co-parent isn’t working to maintain their parent-child relationship.
Can’t Settle? Opt for Mediation.
In a high-conflict divorce, it can be difficult to settle on a parenting plan, much less communicate with your ex-spouse. If your parenting rights are threatened due to hostility, consider bringing an unbiased mediator into the mix. Your legal costs will be cut in half, since you’ll be hiring one mediator rather than two attorneys, and your family law expert will assist with dampening any hostility to reach a proper settlement.
Protect Your Rights with an Orange County Divorce Attorney
Divorce is an emotional journey to endure. On top of the bitterness and anger which often result from a formal separation, the subsequent legal battles tend to make the whole process even more painful. At the Law Offices of Jennifer Owens, we revel in the power of choice. When spouses face divorce, they’re presented with a slew of decisions with a handful of potential outcomes. Our attorneys are believers in the best possible outcome, where a former couple chooses peace over destruction so that they can finally move on to their next chapter. We can help with that. No matter your desired path – divorce mediation, a negotiated settlement, or even litigation – The Law Offices of Jennifer Owens will achieve the best possible outcome by reaching a settlement that keeps all involved parties in mind. Visit our website to review our family law services or contact us online for a free consultation.