Divorce and Separation Bring Change in Your Relationship With Your Child

When you and your partner decide to separate, one thing is certain: your family life will change dramatically. One of the biggest differences is the change in the time you will spend with your children. You may no longer see them every day after school or put them to bed every night. You will need an experienced lawyer like the ones at Hightower Reff Law by your side.

With the help of an experienced lawyer, these changes don’t have to rob you of a positive and full relationship with your child post-separation. At Hightower Reff Law, we protect our clients’ parenting time and their right to participate fully in raising their children through experienced family law counsel. Before you make big decisions regarding your family, contact our Omaha office and discuss your options with an experienced lawyer.

Custody Determinations and Parenting Plans

You have probably heard people talk about “going for full custody.” They are talking about asking the court to give them legal custody and physical custody – two different things.

Legal custody is the decision making authority, while physical custody is possession of the children. Through mediation or settlement, many separated parents are able to agree on sharing both legal and physical custody (called joint custody).

If you and your partner cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the court will decide. The court may order joint custody or the court may order primary legal or physical custody with one parent instead of the other, based on the circumstances of each case.

Rest assured that, if you are not granted primary custody of your children, it does not mean you are an unfit parent. The court determines primary custody arrangements based on a variety of factors, including details as uncontrollable as parent work schedules and the friends and family who may help support the custodial parent in caring for the children.

The term “visitation” sometimes carries a negative connotation, which is why Nebraska law now calls it “parenting time” instead. But, visitation and parenting time are the same thing.

No matter the custody arrangement, it is important your parenting schedule is clearly outlined in legal documents. We believe arrangements should be made according to what works for your family and what is in the best interest of your children.

Understanding the System

Our attorneys can help you understand how the court may rule in your case and how mandatory mediation of your parenting plan works.

Your parenting plan must include certain things – like how often your children stay with you and which holidays are spent with which parent. But it can also include other details that are important to you – like transportation to the children’s sporting events or lessons, and down to the frequency or schedule of phone calls with your kids when it’s not your parenting time.

Protecting Your Children’s Best Interests

Like in other states, the laws in Nebraska look to preserve the best interests of children involved in a divorce. We know this is your primary concern as well.

If you are involved in a custody case, Nebraska child custody laws require both parents to take a course to learn strategies that will help you and the other parent cooperate with one another, gain insight into parenting your child during the court process and move forward after the custody case is final.

If parents cannot reach an agreement through your attorneys and/or mediation, the judge will decide the custody arrangement based on various criteria, including:

  • The mental and physical health of both parents.
  • The child’s relationship with both parents.
  • The child’s wishes if he or she is mature enough to make an informed decision.
  • The wishes of both parents.
  • The safety, stability and future opportunities offered by each parent.
  • In most cases, Nebraska judges typically favor a joint custody arrangement where both parents take an active role in raising their children.

In cases involving children, we believe that the emotional costs involved in trial for you and your children often outweigh the benefits of going to trial. In many cases, our child custody and support clients are able to reach an agreement with our guidance and support. If not, we will fight for you in court.

Questions about Custody?

We are here to work with you and personally guide you through the parenting plan process so you have the best chance at an outcome that’s best for you and for your child. Call us today at 402-932-9550 or visit our contact page to schedule a time to come in and talk to one of our attorneys.

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