The parent receiving sole custody may not move out of state with the children without notifying the other parent.
Divorce rates have declined in Montana over the past decade, but that’s no consolation for those facing the end of their marriages. And when you have kids it’s not really over, you can’t really go your separate ways because you’re always attached to the little ones. Even when things have gone wrong between you, the adults, you must put up a brave face and make provisions for the children. The best solution is to seek impartial advice from trusted Montana child custody attorneys who can help you create a parenting plan.
It’s already uncomfortable at this point, and agreeing on a parenting plan can help you avoid a nasty court battle where there are no real winners. Anyone can get hurt, and children suffer the most.
Montana’s divorce laws were designed with one goal in mind: protecting the best interests of children. Children need stability in their lives, predictability and frequent contact with both parents. To ensure that the parents have to decide on two main aspects – physical custody and legal custody.
Physical custody determines where the children will live, which is sometimes defined as residential planning under Montana law. Sole custody means the children live with one parent full-time while the other receives visitation rights. When creating a parenting plan, you need to be very specific about these points – how many weekends does the other parent have, how will you split the children’s vacations and school holidays, etc.
The parent receiving sole custody may not move out of state with the children without notifying the other parent. In this case, the move justifies a change in the parenting plan and you will have to go to court for it.
Do the children have a say in all this? If you speak to an experienced Billings child custody attorney, they will tell you that the judge will often hear the child, but will not base their decision solely on the child’s will.
Group of teenagers carrying backpacks walking away from camera; Image by Rich Smith, via Unsplash.com.
Legal custody refers to who will make important decisions about the child, whether it be related to education, health or religious upbringing. If one parent is granted sole custody, they can decide which school the child goes to, what medical treatment they need, etc. The other parent has no say in this.
Joint custody means that both parents can have a say in the future of their children, but this can only work if they can actually talk to each other and resolve differences on specific issues.
Child custody attorneys with years of experience in this area can help you create a comprehensive plan for your children’s future. You can submit this plan to the judge and he will approve it without amendment if he finds the best interests of the children are well protected.
Going forward, you can have this parenting plan modified if there is a significant change in either parent’s health or financial situation, but you must have it re-approved by a judge.