In New Hampshire, the law and the courts expect parents to make decisions that are always in the best interests of their children, regardless of what the parents may think of one another. If you’re divorcing and have children here in the Granite State, you and your ex will be expected to come up with a parenting plan that will address many aspects, including but not limited to the following:
- Decision-making responsibility
- Residential responsibility (formerly known as custody)
- Transportation and exchanging of children
- Dispute resolution.
In this blog we will cover each of these topics, but you should contact a trusted and experienced family attorney to learn about the other details of a parenting plan you will need to address.
Benefits of Co-Parenting in New Hampshire
Studies have shown that children who spend time with both parents tend to be happier and healthier and in the long term will have well-adjusted, meaningful relationships with both parents. Children who see both parents on a regular basis:
- tend to do better in school;
- are less likely to be stressed or anxious; and
- are less likely to drink, smoke, or experiment with drugs.
Even if your divorce was contentious and you feel a certain amount of resentment toward your ex, you should try to set aside those feelings and work together to come up with a parenting plan that serves the best interests of your children.
Keep in mind, too, that as your children grow and mature, their best interests will change. As they do, you and your ex will need to make adjustments to the parenting plan to adapt to your child’s new needs.
You and your ex will define who makes day-to-day decisions in raising your child and who gets to make the major decisions in your child’s life, like:
- medical needs; and
- religious observations.
The better you work together to make these decisions, the better it will be for your child.
Residential responsibility means deciding on a schedule of where and when the children will live. You need to consider school and school-related activities, holidays, and vacations.
These days, many parents can agree on a 50/50 schedule where children live with one parent for one week and then live with the other parent the following week. Major holidays can be split and alternate every other year (for example, Christmas with the father in odd numbered years, Christmas with the mother in even numbered years).
Transportation and Exchange of Children in New Hampshire
When a child is young enough for a car seat or booster, how the child is transported in a parent’s car needs to be specifically defined. Exchanging the child as defined by the parenting schedule is also outlined in this section, e.g., agreeing to exchange the children in a public, neutral place like a parking lot.
When a child gets his or her driver’s license and car, this section needs to be modified to allow for the child to drive him or herself to/from each parent’s residence.
Finally, as the child’s needs and best interests change, disputes on how to co-parent may arise. Many times a neutral, third-party may be needed to help resolve a dispute. A mediator doesn’t replace an experienced family attorney, but you can ask your attorney for help during mediation.
Contact New Hampshire Trusted Family Attorneys at Tenn And Tenn, P.A.
If you are going through a divorce and need help, call us today to set up a consultation with one of our New Hampshire divorce attorneys by calling (603) 624-3700 or completing our online contact form.