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Shared child custody and time-sharing

In Alaska family law cases, children’s needs must be treated with great care. The custody and parenting time schedule is a frequent topic of dispute. It is important to understand what options are available.

In some cases, one parent will have primary custody and the other granted reasonable parenting time, but there are many cases in which the parents share custody. The court has specific issues it will consider when deciding if shared custody is the right choice. One is the optimal time the child will spend with the parents. If shared custody is a possibility, the parents should be aware of what factors the court looks at.

Key points the court will assess with optimal time and shared custody

In a shared custody determination, the court will need to decide how much time the child should spend with each parent. Just as in cases where a parent has primary custody with the other parent getting parenting time – perhaps over weekends – the child will have a schedule for when they are with each parent. This must be addressed with shared custody as to when the child is with each parent and for how long.

Distance can also be a concern. Parents who live closer to each other will likely have an easier time organizing their time with the child than parents who live further apart. The school the child attends is also weighed. Since travel can be more complex with greater distance, this can be a point of contention regarding how feasible it is for the child to travel back and forth.

Some children have special needs that one parent is better equipped to handle. If a child must be watched more closely, a parent who has a demanding and time-consuming job could have a tougher time achieving that. Finally, the parents must be willing to work together. That means putting aside any lingering ill will from the end of the marriage and fostering a close relationship between the child and the other parent.

If there were abuse issues, the court will not consider this as the child’s safety is paramount.

Parents should know their custody options and act accordingly with legal guidance

Children may get caught in the middle of a family law case. That can result in significant disputes and hard feelings as to where the child will live, what the parenting time arrangement is, who makes the key decisions in the child’s life and more. If shared custody is a possibility, it is wise to know how the court decides. To be legally protected and make sure the case is decided fairly, it is useful to have professional representation from the outset.