We Put Relationships First and Minimize Emotional Stress and Cost
In any separation, and depending on your children’s ages, they may feel uncertain, afraid, upset or caught in the middle. Possibly without even realizing it, children will be looking for structure, stability, support, love and reassurance. Without doubt, their parents are the best people to provide these reassurances after a separation, and on an ongoing basis. When families with children separate, other than in very rare circumstances, both parents will continue to have a long-term co-parenting relationship. It is always better if parents are willing to work cooperatively to decide what parenting arrangements work best for their children. However, such issues can at times be very challenging because parents won’t always agree, or there may be legitimate safety or other complicating issues involved.
In all separations, the interests and well being of the children override the rights or wishes of their parents. This means that when making decisions affecting the parenting and support of children, parents (and the Courts) must prioritize the “best interests of the children”, rather than focusing on the competing rights or wishes of individual parents. This child-centred focus should be the foundation of any parenting plan, whether developed in negotiations between the parents, or in decisions from our Courts.
At a most basic level, a parenting plan needs two parts. It should describe how the parents will make important decisions for their children (dealing with religion, education, health care, extra-curricular activities, etc.), and, it should describe where the children will live and who will care for them throughout the year (the parenting schedule). For most families a parenting plan is probably better thought of as a “co-parenting plan”. When parents work together to develop a parenting plan for their children, they address the children’s need for stability and consistency, and proactively support their children’s right to see and love both their parents after the separation. In almost all cases, parenting plans cooperatively developed by parents, with the help of experienced child custody lawyers, are more thoughtful, detailed, flexible, durable and better suited to addressing children’s best interests than compared to parenting orders imposed by a Judge who might know little about the family. It is also normal for parenting plans to need adjustments as children get older or when circumstances change. A parenting plan created by an agreement process is often more amenable to reasonable changes over time, than orders that are imposed on the parents out of an adversarial process. Leamy Family Law can assist greatly through our experience in the preparation of a workable and thoughtful parenting plans for your family.
A child custody lawyer should guide you through the tough times. Sometimes getting to “yes” doesn’t work, despite everyone’s efforts. But your peace of mind cannot be put on hold, and your children still require stability, structure, support, love and sometimes even protection. Where disputes cannot be resolved by agreement, Leamy Family Law will transition to the extent necessary into the court system to obtain resolutions, tailored to your children’s best interests. We will discuss your options in detail and develop a court plan for your families’ specific needs, and implement that plan diligently and competently. You will remain educated and informed at all times as your court plan proceeds. It should also be noted that pressing forward on a court plan will often itself cause parties to get to “yes” in their negotiations. Parents should keep in mind that the goal should always remain, despite going to court, to achieve an efficient and acceptable resolution that works for their family, not “winning at all costs”.
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The first 30 minutes of initial consultations are free. If the consultation continues for significantly longer that half an hour, then the extra time is charged at our regular hourly rate.
Meetings for Independent Legal Advice for a Contract or Settlement Agreement are charged on a regular basis for the full time spent. Please see: Independent Legal Advice