Custody Disagreement? Prepare for Family Court Services (FCS) - The Men's Legal Center


Custody Disagreement? Prepare for Family Court Services (FCS)

A touchy post-separation issue is setting up a child-sharing plan. Think about this thoroughly and make a proposal to the other side, if you can, instead of letting a judge who does not know you, your children, or their needs. When each parent is engulfed in their own angst, it is hard to put a plan together of what is best for your child(ren), and yet you must, especially since they are experiencing their own turmoil and have no control over it. The optimal objective should be to spend considerable amounts of time with each parent.

Studies show if one party has significantly less time, this non-custodial parent time gets pushed out. The focus of the children’s lives revolves more around that of the custodial parent’s household. Over time the non-custodial parent time declines. 

Yes, there was the routine you had with your ex before. That is a starting point, but it should not be the endpoint. The separation is a new starting point.

You must understand your situation and “work- up” your case to propose a workable child sharing plan to the other parent. Understand a few factors, such as your work schedules, distance between household and the school(s), daycare and after-school programs, traffic patterns and the existing family support system.

Often, custodial parents only realize too late they also need downtime. So, if you have a considerate ex, consider the time the kids are away as your downtime to recharge your batteries and accomplish your personal goals.

Other questions to consider are how could you do close to 50-50 child sharing work? Could you change your shift schedule or have grandma pick up the children from school? Is an after-school program an option?

Before you go down the courtroom path, propose a plan with which you both can live.  It could be the starting point for a healthy discussion on how to best parent the child(ren). If you cannot work out a plan, in California the court will send you to Family Court Services to have a counselor attempt to work a plan with you. Keep in mind, if you have not done your homework, proposing a plan to the counselor will be challenging.

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