When your parents live together, they are both responsible for taking care of you. When your parents stop living together, this might change.
For example, if your parents need to agree on where you will live or when you will spend time with each parent. If they can’t agree, then the court will ask a Mediator to help them sort it out. If they still don’t agree, a court Magistrate or Judge may decide. The court can order “shared,” “allocated,” or “sole” parental rights and responsibilities.
The judge can also order “shared primary residence” or “primary residence.”
If one parent has primary residence, the other parent usually has “parent-child contact” or “parenting time.” There are lots of different ways to arrange how you spend time with your other parent. It might be for a few hours a week, a few days a week, just weekends, during school vacations or another schedule that fits your family. If the parent lives far away, the plan can also include keeping in touch in other ways, like phone calls, e-mails, letters and online meetings. The times may be very specific—spelling out hours and days for visits—or very general and flexible.
Here are some things that a Judge will consider when making decisions about “parental rights and responsibilities:”
Want to learn more about the law? Pine Tree Legal posts more detailed information about the legal aspects of Divorce and Parental Rights.
If there are things you need to know, ask. You have a right to ask questions about what is going to happen and why.
There are many reasons why parents decide to split up. And with each couple, there might be one main reason, or a whole pile of reasons.
Parents usually try very hard to solve their problems before they take action. If you're not sure what your parents' reasons are for splitting up, you can always ask.
Many teens whose parents split up feel anxious about their own relationships in the future. But just because your parents split up doesn't mean the same thing will happen to you. What happens in your relationships will be up to you, not your parents!
Parents who chose to live together without getting married don't have to get a divorce, because there is no marriage to end. But they do need to decide what will happen to their children and how they will divide their property.