On behalf of North Tampa Legal Group posted in child custody on Thursday, April 21, 2016.
It is common after a divorce for both parents to have some sort of physical custody or visitation rights. However, this doesn’t always mean that a noncustodial parent gets to take advantage of his or her visitation time. Even when the parents are awarded joint legal custody, which is common, the non-custodial parent is often taken advantage of.
In theory, joint legal custody allows both parents to have input into certain decisions affecting their children, including health care and education. However, it is more difficult to attend a pediatrician appointment or a conference with a child’s teacher when the non-custodial parent doesn’t know when or where it is to take place. There are cases when a custodial parent won’t provide this information to the other parent even when the custodial parent is the one doing the scheduling.
When non-custodial parents are present for such events, they may feel as if they are not allowed to be a meaningful part of the process. They may also feel as if they aren’t given equal rights to their children in terms of being granted equal parenting time. Unfortunately, a noncustodial parent may feel as if the only recourse is to go to court, which may be less than ideal.
In a child custody dispute, the best interests of the child should always the top priority. However, some parents look at it as a battle with a winner and a loser. Family law attorneys will remind their clients that the real loser when that approach is taken is the child, and they may suggest that mediation would be a more appropriate way to resolve the issue than litigation.