In general, "parental rights and responsibilities" means the role that each parent will play in the child's life. The two main "rights" issues are:
Parent-child contact can range from the children having no contact with one parent to a "50-50" arrangement.
Decision-making can be shared where the parties must agree before a decision is made for the child. On the other extreme, one parent can be be awarded sole decision-making authority.
The main focus of the court's determination of parental rights and responsibilities is the "best interests" of the minor child or children. There is a presumption that the court should "assure minor children of frequent and continuing contact with both parents . . . and to encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing in order to effect this policy."
In determining what is in a child's best interest, the court looks to a number of factors including:
No. Maine law provides that "court may not apply a preference for one parent over the other in determining parental rights and responsibilities because of the parent's gender or the child's age or gender."
Maine law recognizes that domestic violence is harmful to children. A court may award primary residence of a minor child or parent-child contact to a parent who has committed domestic abuse only if the court finds that adequate provisions for the safety of the child and the parent who is a victim of domestic abuse can be made.
Furthermore, when domestic violence has occurred the court may:
Yes. If you have credible evidence that your child's other parent needs a mental evaluation, it may be a good idea to ask the court to order that parent to undergo a mental evaluation.
Yes. If you have credible evidence that your child's other parent should undergo a substance abuse evaluation, engage in substance abuse counseling or drug testing, it may be a good idea to ask the court to order that parent to undergo a mental evaluation.
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