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Parental Rights

Parental rights are one of the most important issues in a divorce. Sometimes couples allow themselves to be dragged into a custody battle. This is often out of spite and with a lack of regard for the well-being of their children. Parents must do all they can to protect their parental rights. They also need to honor the rights of their child’s other parent when doing so is in the best interest of their child.

Parental rights are the rights of a biological parent to spend time with and participate in decisions regarding their child. Along with rights are responsibilities. In addition to having a right to time and participation in your child’s life, you also have a responsibility for these things. When parents are unable to make decisions on their own about their rights and responsibilities, the court intervenes. They make the decisions in the best interest of the child.

Parental Rights: Time with the Child

Every parent, as long as it is deemed safe by the court system, has a right to spend time with his/her child. Even if safety is an issue, the court will do what it can to provide supervised visits for the parent and child.

Parenting time covers a child’s living arrangements, as well as visitation and time spent on vacation or celebrating holidays with either parent. Divorcing parents are encouraged to create a plan that works for their schedule and their child’s. This is sometimes a point of contention and the court is forced to intervene. When the court must make decisions about parenting time, it considers:

  • Preferences of each parent
  • Preference of the child, based on the child’s age and ability
  • Nature of the child’s relationship with each parent, and any siblings or other significant people in the child’s life
  • School attendance
  • Community involvement
  • Physical and mental health of both parents and the child
  • Ability of each parent to provide a loving and affectionate relationship between the child and the other parent
  • Location of each parent’s home
  • History of abuse or neglect
  • Ability to provide for the child’s needs

Decision Making

Parental rights also include the right of each parent to play a role in making important decisions about his/her child’s life. Important decisions might include issues related to school, medical care, religion, extra-curricular activities, and so on. An official determination must be made as to what role each parent plays in decision-making and whether or not one parent has the authority to make a decision without consulting the other parent.

The court considers some of the same issues involved in parenting time when determining if there will be sole or joint decision-making responsibility granted in a particular case.

Your rights as a parent should be one of the most important issues in your divorce. As the biological parent of a child, you have a right to see your child and spend time with him or her, even if special arrangements are warranted.

Do you have questions about parental rights? Would you like to speak to an attorney about your rights and how you can protect them? Contact The Law Offices of Robert M. Geller by phone at (813) 405-1509 or online by using our online contact form.

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