When two parents have children but have never been married, Parenting Orders sought from the Court are done through a Petition for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities.
Such a Petition, often referred to as an APR case matter, allows a parent to Petition the Court for Orders regarding the parenting schedule, decision making authority regarding major decisions, and child support.
A number of steps will be advanced during the case process. These include a Mandatory Financial Disclosure process, Mediation, and possible Child Custody Evaluation.
Mandatory Financial Disclosures
Whenever Child Support is at issue in a case, the parties will be required to exchange financial disclosures so that a full determination of each parent’s income and financial circumstances can be evaluated to determine the proper amount of child support that should be paid by a parent.
In cases where parenting issues are in dispute, the Court will almost certainly enter an Order for the parties to attend Mediation in order to attempt negotiations and resolutions without the need for a Final Trial.
It should be noted that where there are domestic abuse allegations in a case, and one parent is unwilling to participate in Mediation as a result, the Court shall not Order the parties to attend mediation.
Child Custody Evaluations
In the event where the parties cannot reach agreements about the parenting time schedule or how decision making authority should be allocated among the parents when important decisions need to be made, it may be beneficial to ask the Court to appoint a Child Custody Evaluator. This individual is an expert appointed by the Court to interview the parties, conduct an investigation about the case matter and the issues in dispute and to prepare a report with recommendations to be submitted to the Court.
While such a report and recommendations is helpful to the Court, it is not binding upon the Court. The Court will draw on all of the evidence that has been presented on the statutory factors outlining the best interests of the child when making determinations on parenting time and decision making.
At Elevated Family Law, we know the law and we understand the legal standards the Court must apply when making determinations on Parenting Time and Decision Making. We are experienced at helping clients through their APR cases, both through negotiations and settlement, as well as through presenting their cases at a Final Hearing.
Call us today and let us help you through your case process.