For The Kids: Parenting Rights Before Divorce

Let’s say you’re thinking about divorce, or maybe you’ve begun the process but there are no agreements or court orders regarding custody or parenting time. Sometimes, parents in such circumstances don’t see eye-to-eye and wonder what rights they have to spend time with, and make decisions for, their kids. The bottom line is that, unless and until the court orders otherwise, both spouses have the equal rights.


Your legal rights regarding the children are the same regardless of whether you are still living with your spouse or you have moved to separate residences. If the two of you have children from the marriage, each of you has the equal right to decide:


• where the children live;

• where the children attend school;

• whether and when the children should get medical care, including vaccinations.


This also means that each parent has an equal right to parenting time. The Court will make decisions based upon the best interests of the children and you should keep those interests in mind as well.


It is important for children to maintain relationships with both parents if at all possible. Unless there is a realistic threat of harm, you should support liberal parenting time and encourage your children to spend time with your spouse. Remember, this is about your children, not about you or your spouse.


If you are truly worried your spouse will harm or not return the children, you do not have to let them go, but keep in mind that you will need to be able to explain your actions to the Court. if the Court finds that your actions were unreasonable under the circumstances, it may affect the ultimate decision regarding custody and parenting time.


To discuss custody, parenting time, or any other family law issue, call Kruse Famiily Law PLLC at 612.231.9865 or email corwin@krusefamilylaw.com.




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