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Primary Residency and Parental Rights & Responsibilities

The Maine Divorce Group > Family Law > Primary Residency and Parental Rights & Responsibilities

Primary Residency and Parental Rights and Responsibilities in Maine (Previously Known as Child Custody and Visitation)

For couples with children, whom they will live with, who will make decisions for them, and who will pay for their expenses become the most critical issues within their divorce. Many states use the terms child custody and visitation to describe where the kids live, the plan for them seeing the parent they don’t live with, and who will be their decision-maker. In Maine, this is simply called Primary Residency (custody) and Parental Rights and Responsibilities. If you are like most divorcing parents, you want the best for your child, especially during and after a life-changing divorce. Your Maine family law attorney can explain in detail the state’s laws addressing considerations for children and advise you as to what your realistic goals could be.

What is Primary Residency (Custody)?

While many people think of custody as who has physical possession of the children or their living arrangements, it can mean a few things. In addition to physical custody, there are parental rights and responsibilities, which relates to the right to make significant decisions for the child, such as their religious upbringing, education, and medical care that is not emergent.

Custody can be sole or joint. If there is sole legal custody, one parent has decision-making authority over the children; if it is joint, both parents have the authority. In sole physical custody arrangements, the children live with the sole custodian and usually have visitation with their other parent. If joint physical custody is granted, the children live with each parent for a set time period on a set schedule. These time periods can vary between a few days a week or even months at a time, such as over summer break. If one parent is granted visitation in the divorce, the court determines where and when they will see the children if both spouses cannot reach a mutually agreeable solution.

In most divorces, the court will grant allocated parental rights and responsibilities. These rights are divided between the parents. For example, one parent might have decision making authority over their child’s religious upbringing while another will have control over their education.

How do Courts Determine Primary Residency and Parental Rights and Responsibilities?

Keep in mind that the job of a family court judge is to protect and do what is in the best interest of the children. The judge will keep these factors and more in mind when making decisions about parental responsibility:

  • Age of the child
  • The child’s relationship with either parent or others who significantly impact their life such as grandparents
  • The desirability of maintaining continuity in the child’s life
  • The stability of the living arrangements either parent is asking for
  • The history of any domestic abuse or sex crimes on the part of either parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide guidance, love, and affection to the child

If the judge does not believe that a proposal submitted by a parent will be in the best interest of the child, it will not be granted.

Contact a Parental Responsibility Attorney at The Maine Divorce Group Today

Aspects of a divorce that involve children can be especially difficult emotionally and also confusing. At The Maine Divorce Group, our compassionate lawyers can help you understand the possibilities and help you create realistic goals for establishing primary residence and parental rights and responsibilities. We can facilitate negotiations and settlements as well as draft a plan and submit it to the court. You can take control by contacting our office today and scheduling a consultation to discuss the parental responsibilities you desire.

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