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PARENTING RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION

What was once called child custody or visitation issues in New Hampshire is now referred to as Parenting Rights and Responsibilities. The change in the law was intended as more than just a change in name but as a shift in focus from winners and losers of possession of children to an allocation or roles for parents based on what is best for the children. The new law recognizes that most often, children do best when both parents continue to play an important role in their lives.

Parental rights and responsibilities cases determine where children principally reside, which schools children attend, when and how much time children spend with each parent, how important decisions for children will be made, and what if any restrictions on access to children there will be. The parenting arrangements are ultimately determined in a Parenting Plan. The scope and complexity of legal proceedings associated with parenting cases depend in large part upon what issues are contested by the parents and how readily the parents can agree on the details of their children's lives.

No other issue in domestic relations cases brings more emotion and intensity than parenting cases. Parenting cases bear enormous consequence both for parents and for children. They hold the potential to yield a workable and constructive plan for children, or plunge the parents and the children into years of anger, conflict, and bitterness. Personal and financial costs associated with arguing versus agreeing over what is or is not essential in parenting cases must be carefully considered at every step along the way because of the consequences.

"No other issue in domestic relations cases brings more emotion and intensity than parenting cases. "

Parenting cases usually involve working with a court appointed guardian ad litem, whose job is to investigate the parents, the children and the home situations to recommend parenting arrangements in the best interests of the children. Guardian ad litem investigations require careful attention by the parents, because the issues and facts brought to the guardian's attention will bear heavily on their eventual recommendation. Our office carefully counsels clients how to work with the guardian to ensure that the right attention is brought to what matters.

The guardian's recommendation will have enormous influence on an eventual decision in the case. Their recommendations can be challenged or modified in court, but doing so requires detailed work and a great deal of expense. It is far better to influence the guardian's investigation and recommendation during the process than it is to expect to overturn their final report in a court proceeding.

Braiterman Law Offices brings years of legal experience from all sides to parenting cases. We have represented mothers and fathers, and served as guardian ad litem ourselves in many cases over the years. We help our clients focus on what is and is not best for their children. Careful attention is given to what may or may not be achievable in a parenting case. We counsel clients through the guardian's investigation and on the parenting decisions made during the course of the case that will have a big impact on the eventual outcome. Our work during the case brings the best chance for persuading the guardian to our clients' point of view, or if not, gives us the groundwork to show the court why the guardian missed something important to the children. The earlier in a parenting case that you contact us, the better able we can be to improve the outcome for your children. We suggest that you print and complete our New Client Questionnaire before coming in to see us about your parenting case concerns.

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