Families Change
Kids Guide to Separation & Divorce

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Changes in Parenting Time

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Jeremy: When your parents live together, they are both responsible for taking care of you. When your parents stop living together, this might change.

Both parents have shared rightsWhen both parents help to make decisions about their kids’ lives. Maine law encourages this to happen. You might live part of the time with one parent and part of the time with the other. Or you may live mostly with one parent—but both parents help make decisions about things in your life.

If you live with one parent most of the time, you will still stay with your other parent sometimes. In Maine, this is called “parent-child contact.” Some call this “parenting time.” There are lots of different ways to arrange how you spend time with that parent.

Or one parent might have sole rightsWhen only one parent takes care of the kids and makes decisions about their lives. This means you live with one parent who takes care of you every day. That parent makes important decisions about things in your life, like where you will go to school. This can happen when the court decides that your other parent is not able to help take care of you.

Your parents might be able to make these decisions by themselves. But if they can’t agree, the court Mediator can try to help them sort things out. Then, if there are still things they can’t agree upon, a Judge or Magistrate will have to make some decisions.

The judge will think about things like:

  • What will give you the fewest changes to deal with?
  • Are both of your parents healthy and responsible?
  • What are your parents’ plans for themselves and for you?
  • How close do you feel to each of your parents?
  • Do family and friends live near your parents?