Often when a couple first splits up there is a tendency to try to placate the other party.
Reasons for this can range from a feeling of guilt for hurting the other party by splitting up, to trying to placate the other party so that the divorce will be less hostile, to trying to do what seems best in the short run for the children.
One of the ways in which such concessions are often made is by deviating from the standard parenting plan that the courts might otherwise impose as a default parenting arrangement.
As an example, leaving aside summer parenting time, major school holidays such as the winter break, and the like, in many counties standard parenting plans call for the non-primary parent to have visitation every second weekend, from Friday after school to Monday morning when the children are dropped off at school.
If the primary parent allows a temporary deviation from that plan, by allowing one mid week overnight with the other parent each week, this deviation is likely to be incorporated into the interim parenting plan that the court imposes during the time before the divorce is finalized, and into the long term parenting plan that the court imposes in the final judgment of dissolution of marriage (i.e. the divorce decree). This is true even if, by the time such decisions are made by the court, the primary parent has changed his or her mind, and no longer wishes to make this accommodation.
Such a difference can easily make a difference in child support of $20,000 even for just one child, even for only a 10 year period.
This is not the only problem that such a deviation can cause, however.
If the court orders one night of overnight parenting time in the middle of each school week, or if the court mandates something similar in terms of annual overnights, by starting the visitation period every second weekend on a Wednesday afternoon after school is out, instead of on Friday afternoon after school is out, it will become very hard for the primary parent ever to leave the community.
This may not be something the primary parent is thinking of initially, but as new relationships emerge, or new job opportunities arise, it may become very important to be able to move from the mid-Valley to the Portland area, or to Bend, or the like.
With weekend parenting time that begins in a Friday afternoon or evening, such medium distance moves can be quite easily accomplished without disrupting the child’s schedule and schooling.
With mid week overnight parenting time, such moves can become virtually impossible.
Steven A. Heinrich
Divorce & Custody
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