Determining Parental Rights and Responsibilities is never easy and can be a stressful time for a family going through a dissolution of marriage. It is important to remember that the best interests of the children always come first and the courts are always putting the children’s well-being ahead of the parents. Here are three tips on how to make the process run smoother.

1) The courts have taken a new approach in determining Parental Rights and Responsibilities. They have stepped back from their long-standing role as surrogate parents and encourage the parties to make decisions and reach agreements. The court recommends the parties make decisions concerning their children because they are often times in the best position to do so and it is best for the children involved.

2) It is very important for the parties to be specific and precise regarding what are considered major decisions in a child’s life. They can be as major as where the child attends school to as small as the child’s haircut. What is important to remember is no matter how big or small the decision is, the parties should define such decision making specifically in the separation agreement and identify those potential problem areas and address them.

3) The court will not just consider the parent’s wishes when determining Parental Rights and Responsibilities. The wishes of the children are important and will be considered by the court. The impact the child’s wishes will have on the court will depend on the child’s age and maturity.