by Douglas Birk

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: This blog does not offer legal advice and the information listed here is for generalized informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or a legal recommendation. Assessing an individual’s legal case involves a careful and complete evaluation of case specific facts and the legal options or possible legal outcomes for individuals will vary significantly. For legal advice, please consult with an attorney.

Custody and parenting time decisions have enormous collateral impact on the shape and structure of the interested parties’ lives, the children, and the extended families connected to the children.  Obviously, these legal decisions impact people in very unexpected and unforeseen ways.  As a result, parties should consult an attorney to better understand their options and possible consequences.

Rather than write a riveting expose on the latest developments in statute or case law (for example, the “best interest factors” courts use for evaluating custody and parenting time in non-third party actions are changing in 2015), I want to focus this blog on some larger concepts that impact nearly everyone involved in a custody proceeding.  

First, there is a strong constitutional presumption granted to anyone who has recognized parenting rights involving a minor child that the parent is entitled to some parenting time. This presumption is rebuttable, and in instances where a parent has been abusive, the child can be removed from the parent for his or her protection. However, there are very few instances in a civil custody setting where a parent will not be permitted to maintain at least some contact with the child absent extraordinary circumstances.