When divorce or split disrupts your family, you hope your child still turns out well. But for that to happen, you and your soon-to-be ex have to stay committed to your parental obligations.
In Vermont, the court encourages both parents to maintain a frequent and meaningful relationship with their child. However, a judge cannot force you on a shared parental rights and responsibilities (PR&R) order unless you and your ex agree.
Understanding a parental rights and responsibilities order
Unlike other states, Vermont statutes refer to child custody as parental rights and responsibilities. If there are specific issues you cannot agree on, the court steps in to decide on two distinct PR&R types:
- Physical: This is the daily duty of providing an actual house where your child can live and where you can stay on top of their regular routines.
- Legal: This is the kind of authority extending beyond your child’s day-to-day care, which includes major decisions on educational, medical, social and religious upbringing.
Physical and legal PR&R arrangements vary, depending on each case’s circumstances. The court reviews a number of factors and then may either assign you both responsibilities or ask you to take charge of particular concerns while your ex handles the rest.
Similarly, the state’s parent-child contact rules, or more commonly known as visitation, require a structured parenting plan. Mapping out a schedule allows you and your ex to spend enough quality time with your child.
Additionally, the court acknowledges that you must meet your child’s financial and emotional demands. Therefore, your parent-child contact agreement generally does not impact child support payments.
Forging a solid foundation for your child’s future
Your child’s welfare must always be the priority despite the difficulties you and your child’s other parent face during these challenging times. While protecting your interests and your child’s future, a dedicated lawyer can guide you along the way in being the parent your child needs right now.