One of the main issues facing divorcing and separating parents in Massachusetts is to establish a parenting plan when each party provides care and custody for his or her children. When you are left with less parenting time than you hoped for, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child.
However, there are many things you can do to increase your parenting time with your child. It often starts with maintaining a positive relationship with the other parent. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you do not have a vital role to play in your child’s life.
Right of First Refusal
In Massachusetts, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before asking a babysitter, family member or friend to step in and provide childcare, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.
This situation can benefit everyone involved. You and the child get to spend more time together, and the other parent saves on childcare costs. This arrangement works best when the two parents have an amicable relationship and both parents are willing to be flexible and put the needs of their child first.
Sharing Carpool and Taxi Duties
Another way to increase the amount of parenting time is to volunteer to drive your child to school or some of his or her extracurricular activities. This seemingly mundane activity can give you the chance to get to know your child’s friends, to be more involved in his or her life, and to share the parenting burden. You don’t have to take over all driving tasks for this to provide benefits to your relationship with your child. Even if you just drive your child to a few of his or her activities, it can help strengthen your bond. This can also help the other parent out and free up some time in their schedule.
Even though you and the other parent are no longer in a romantic relationship, the better communication the two of you have and the better you are at working together, the better off your child will be. Often the more you can do to make life easier for the other parent, the more opportunities you will have to spend time with your child.
If you have questions about allocation of parental rights or parenting time, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.