Custody and Parenting Time
When couples divorce or unmarried parents split up, the issues of child custody and parenting time take center stage. Protecting your legal rights is important, but so is maintaining civility for the sake of the children.
I’m Jean Wise, an Overland Park family law attorney since 1992. I practice exclusively in Johnson County, Kansas (in the Kansas City metro area), and I handle only family law. Let us discuss your case today.
Starting Off on the Right Foot
I try to help my clients learn ways to get along when the divorce is over. The lingering effects of anger and bitterness can affect young children (as well as grown ones). How many people hate the holidays because their parents’ divorce still poisons the atmosphere? What foundation will the parents set for the years ahead: cooperation and the best interests of the child, or animosity and a legal custody battle?
Custody in Kansas
Both parents are generally granted joint legal custody - the right to participate in major decisions regarding the children and the responsibility of supporting and caring for the children.
Regarding residential custody – with whom the children primarily live – there are three possibilities. The children either live primarily with the mother, primarily with the father, or the parents share residential custody.
When one parent has primary residential custody, the other parent is granted parenting time (visitation), usually every other weekend, a weekday evening or overnight per week, alternating holidays, and additional time in the summer. With shared custody, which is becoming more common, the children spend approximately half the time with each parent. I help clients work out a parenting plan that accommodates the work schedules of both parents and centers around the needs of the children.
It can be strategic to file first for divorce, as the court may award temporary primary custody and temporary child support during the months while the divorce is pending.
Can Fathers Get Primary Custody?
Johnson County courts are generally “sex-blind” now in custodial issues (except in the case of infants). The court will base its decision largely on which parent has historically been the main caregiver for the child. I am a proponent of “fathers’ rights” and have helped many men obtain primary custody when it is warranted.
Experience and Compassion
Custody and child support are complex issues requiring an experienced attorney. I am a compassionate custody lawyer and believe parenting is a shared duty. I prefer mediation over litigation to resolve custody disputes. However, I am tough-minded and will fiercely protect my client’s rights in court when necessary.
Call (913) 345-9473 or email me to have an attorney who will promote your interests while preserving a positive relationship with the other parent. I offer flexible scheduling, and I accept most major credit cards.