Below are some things you should consider and what a judge might consider regarding a custody schedule:
Do I have to go to court if we can’t agree on a custody schedule?
Yes, if you can’t agree on custody, you will have to go to court if you want to have a binding custody schedule that each parent is ordered to follow. Each parent has a constitutional right to parent their children. In other words, if you are separated and you have no signed parenting agreement or court ordered custody schedule, either parent can have physical custody of the child. For instance, if you drop off your child at school, and the other parent picks your child up from school and takes the child to that parent’s private residence, you do not have the legal right to go to the other parent’s home and take the child without a court order or the express consent of the other parent. In some unfortunate cases, when things like this happen, it can have detrimental effects on the children and their relationship with each parent.
In order to avoid messy scenarios such as this, if parents are unable to agree on a custody schedule, either parent has the right to file a complaint for custody and seek the court’s assistance in determining a custodial schedule. If a custody complaint is filed, both parties will be mandated by the court to attempt to resolve their issues through court-ordered child custody mediation. If that fails, then your case would be set for a child custody trial where both parents have the opportunity to testify before the judge, present witnesses, exhibits, and other evidence to support what they believe is the best interest of their child. Then the judge issues an order setting out the specific custodial schedule along with other provisions the court believes is in the best interest of the child.
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