One of the most important matters family courts handle is child custody decisions. Who has the ability to raise a child or the extent of the rights of parents is incredibly important to shaping the lives of children. A bad decision is not acceptable in such cases.
Because this matter holds such importance, the court is very careful about making final custody decisions. The court may make various orders to ensure a decision is best for everyone.
Creating a parenting plan
State law requires parents to work together to create a parenting plan. The plan outlines all aspects of custody. The parents must agree on the plan and present it to the court. The judge will look over it to ensure it is fair and in the best interests of the children. The plan should include information on holidays, special visitation, transportation, regular visits, communication and vacations. It might also discuss support matters, such as payment for extracurriculars or college expenses.
Making specific orders
The judge may issue special orders depending on the situation. He or she might restrict the ability of parents to move or require court approval for living situation decisions that impact the children.
Taking parenting classes
The court will require both parents to attend parenting classes. The court may look for engagement in the class and ensure the parents take it seriously. Not taking the class seriously could hurt a parent in court.
The requirements of the court may vary depending on the situation, but the ultimate goal is to do what is best for the children.