Child Related Issues
Separation, divorce, custody, payment of or receipt of child support, and the many other issues which flow from a relationship or marriage are emotionally charged issues which can cloud one’s ability to be objective. It is in your best interest to seek out the services of an attorney and learn about your rights and obligations.
If there are children involved, the two of you will need to decide who will be the primary custodial parent once you separate. The next question to address is child support. Often, the party paying child support feels that the money he/she pays for the children is not used for the children, but is used by the custodial parent for his/her own expenses. Each of you needs to be realistic as to how much it costs to house, feed, clothe and care for the children.
It is more difficult to support two households than one. The custodial parent (payee) relies on receiving child support each week to meet expenses. The non-custodial parent (payor) often finds it difficult to meet the support obligation and to cover his/her own living expenses as well.
Problems often arise when the payor loses or quits his/her job or when the payee refuses to allow the payor to see the children because the support payments are late or not being made. Each of the parties involved needs to think what is best for the children.
Parenting time is another issue which creates problems between parents. The custodial parent may say that the children do not want to visit the other parent or say that the noncustodial parent does not exercise his/her visitation with the children. Whether or not there is a court order in effect setting out a visitation or parenting schedule, it is the obligation of both parents to exercise his/her parenting time and to encourage the children to see the other parent. If there is a court order in effect, each of you is obligated to comply with the court order and explain to the children that they need to see the other parent. Of course, if you are concerned about abuse or neglect, you should contact your attorney immediately to determine what steps should be taken to protect the children.
Neither party should dictate to the other what he/she is going to do in a situation. Instead, there needs to be a give and take when it comes to working out many of the problems which arise when there is a separation or divorce. There will be times when you may need to change the day of a scheduled visitation or will want additional time with the kids. If you have shown flexibility in the past, it may benefit you when you need it most.