Why is it so Important to Take Your Timesharing?
For many years when there was a permanent separation or a divorce, if there were minor children, either biological or adopted, the court would appoint or order one parent to have primary custody while the other parent had visitation rights. Minor children were all children ages birth to age l8, and beyond if there were medical or mental reasons the child could not support themselves. Along with the right to have the minor child live exclusively with one parent came the right for the custodial parent to make all decisions for the child’s welfare, including major ones like education, medical, discipline, and religion. Many people, both in the Family Law legal field and those parents who were affected, fought hard to have the laws changed to allow both parents to play an equal part in the care and development of their minor children.
It has been proven that children, especially those affected with broken homes, will develop a much better sense of being loved and nurtured when both parents are involved. It is also a fact that the parent who played the role of a secondary parent often felt left out and less of a parent. Many parent hearts (usually the father’s) have been broken as they watched from a distance as their children were being raised in a way they disagreed with yet had no say in the matter. For example, the custodial parent could refuse to allow a child to join a sports team, and the other parent could say or do nothing.
In most states, the custody situation has now changed to what is termed parental timesharing. Unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a parent is incarcerated, has been convicted of child abuse or domestic violence, or is mentally or physically unable to care for the minor child, both parents now divide the care and nurturing of minor children in an equal timesharing way. Additionally, major decisions involving education, medical, discipline, and religion must now be discussed, and a joint decision made. While having both parents agree can sometimes be difficult, it is definitely in the best interest of the child for the courts to order it so.
Parental timesharing includes the right for a minor child to spend equal overnights with each parent. This arrangement is a privilege and should not be taken lightly by either parent. While there will be an occasional situation, such as a child becoming ill at one parent’s home and not well enough to be returned immediately, in almost all cases, a parent should honor the timesharing agreement. By honoring the timesharing agreement, the parents are not only following the judge’s order; they are showing their children that both parents love and care for them. Children need consistency in their lives to avoid feeling confused and stressed. They need to know where they will be sleeping each night and that they can live as normal a life as possible with both parents taking an interest in their children’s wellbeing.
It is true that should a parent consistently refuse to honor the parental timesharing order, a parent can return to court to have the other parent held in contempt and perhaps fined or, in extreme cases, sent to jail. However, this is sad for then children have to witness parents failing to do what is right. Some parents are selfish and don’t want to share the minor child, while other parents don’t care about the child and try to get out of their expected responsibility. Thankfully, today’s Family Courts will insist both parents take parental timesharing seriously, even sometimes ordering counseling to help a parent understand how their actions will affect the life of their minor child.