As a parent, you know that spending time with your children is important. When parents live in separate homes, they usually need a schedule to set out when they will each have the children.
Parenting time, or visitation, schedules need to be comprehensive. Not only do they need to include weekdays and weekends, they need to take holidays and school breaks into account. Further, they need to be smartly tailored – you want to make sure the person who has Labor Day with the children also has the rest of the weekend so that they have a full three days together. Parenting time agreements also need to have provisions for vacations, telephone contact, and transportation needs.
Under the law, there is the presumption that the non-custodial parent should receive a minimum of 25% of the parenting overnights. Further, the number of overnights over the course of a year affects the child support paid – the more overnights that the non-custodial parent has, the less expense the custodial parent will bear, and thus there is often a reduction in the support paid to the custodial parent. The challenging mathematical calculations that go into setting parenting time are very important and usually require legal guidance.
It is best to have a customized parenting time schedule that pleases all parties since parenting time has such a significant impact on the children. When the court decides parenting time, there is a risk that the court will apply a “boilerplate” schedule that may not suit your family’s situation. These standard solutions often do not work well with the work schedules, drive times, family traditions, vacation plans, and social obligations that parents have. The result is an inefficient schedule that reduces the meaningful time that each parent has with the children.
Customized parenting time is directed by the children’s developmental needs. Matt Ludt and Atticus Family Law in Stillwater, Minnesota use the research and advice of experts in child development with the goal of developing a parenting time plan that will evolve as the children grow and so that it adapts with your family's particular structure. We work with our clients and their co-parents to craft parenting time schedules that not only serve their present needs and limitations but are also flexible enough to accommodate the changes that will likely occur in the lives of the parents and children in the future.