Common Parenting Questions (& Answers)

Common Parenting Questions (& Answers)

Common Parenting Questions (& Answers)

In her Seattle law office, attorney Cynthia First receives a lot of parenting and child custody related questions from new clients. Here are a few of the most common questions she hears:

Q: I get as much time with my kids as the other parent, right?

A: Not necessarily, First says. “It depends on a lot of things such as schedule, limitations, etc.”

Q: I am the primary caretaker. Do I get to make the decisions for the children?

A: “Nope. Usually decision making is joint, unless there is a reason it should not be,” First says. But that doesn’t always mean that every decision is a joint decision. “Maybe one parent makes education decisions and the other makes medical decisions. There are myriad ways to structure decision making.”

Q: Will my children get to continue to enjoy the traditions we have made in the family?

A: “Some, yes,” First says. “And you will be able to develop new traditions, as well.”

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Q: Where will the children go to school?

A: It depends on your parenting agreement. “It also depends on where they have gone to school, what grade they are in, where their siblings go and where the parents live,” First says.

Q: Can I keep my child home from the other parent’s time if she is sick?

A: It depends on how sick the child is and what the parents have already agreed to. “Each parent is probably capable of caring for a sick child and should be given the opportunity and the responsibility to do so,” First says.

Q: Who gets to hold the children’s passports? Do we have to agree that they get passports?

A: First says parents bring up the issue of passports all the time. She always asks, “Is there a reason to believe that the other parent won’t be responsible with the passports? That they will leave and not come back?” If yes, then parents will definitely want to have some legal assistance on this issue.

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