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Parenting time, as the name suggests, establishes whom the child is with on designated dates and times. It includes daily visitation schedules, the pick-up and drop-off arrangements, and the vacation and holiday schedule. When you have your parenting time set on paper, it gives you the right to return to court and enforce those days and times if the other parent isn’t cooperating. It also eliminates confusion about schedules and provides your children with stability in the form of a more set routine. A stable routine for your child is important and will lessen the stress of the situation for everyone involved, and you will want to protect your right to see your child, so an APR action is often the best route to take.
If you and your co-parent agree to a parenting time schedule on your own, with a mediator and/or with the help of an attorney, the court will usually approve it. If you’re unable to do so, the court will make the decisions for you using what it deems to be in the “best interest of the child.” To determine what that is, the court will consider many factors, including:
In an APR action, decision-making establishes how major choices – such as decisions regarding extracurricular activities, education, religion and medical treatment – are made. It will determine which person has the right to make these decisions for the child. In this process, the court may grant one parent the right to make the decisions on his or her own or require that they make the decisions together. In such cases, the court will weigh the following factors:
Being able to make decisions for your child is a big part of being a parent, so it’s only natural to want to decide and protect that authority. Having your say in his or her upbringing will play a crucial part in your role as a parent.
An APR action can also address child support, which is a continuing financial obligation that is meant to cover the child’s expenses. While there are guidelines set for child support, this aspect of an APR can become even more complicated for high-income parents and children with extraordinary expenses, such as those who attend private schools. Since child support will impact your finances for years to come, it is a good idea to speak to an experienced attorney about your case.
The Allocation of Parenting Responsibilities establishes many important aspects of parenting in a legal sense, so it’s not a process to be taken lightly or without legal help. It will determine many important factors, such as your rights to make crucial decisions for and about your child, and the time you’re legally given to spend with him or her.