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How to Protect Your Parental Rights When Preparing for Divorce

When parents divorce, they generally both retain parental rights absent extenuating circumstances. However, some parents fear their ex will challenge them in court and want to make sure that their parental rights are preserved.

The best way to protect your parental rights is to work with an experienced divorce and child custody attorney—but in the meantime, here are some proactive steps you can take:

  • Talk to your spouse: If your spouse is receptive, talk to them about what they envision once one of you moves out. If you can agree on a temporary visitation schedule, so much the better.
  • Stay involved in your child’s life: Divorce is stressful on everyone, including children. However, it’s important that you prioritize them throughout the process. Attend their school events, take them out for one-on-one time and keep up your household routines.
  • Consider your child’s feelings: Do not vent to your child about the divorce or try to bias them against their other parent. Instead, focus on being a safe person for them to talk to and spend time with. Not only will this ease their experience, but many courts take a child’s preference into account when making custody determinations.
  • Document any interference: If your ex tries to interfere with your time with your children, document it. Save any emails, texts or voicemails which demonstrate their interference, and write down any incidents as soon as they happen, with the time, date and a brief factual description.
  • Document your contributions: Parents who take an active, positive role in their child’s life are more likely to receive favorable custody outcomes. Document your relationship with your child, such as caretaking duties and regular recreational activities. If your parental rights are challenged, this will demonstrate that you share the childrearing duties—as well as the fun parts.
  • Imagine your ideal parenting arrangement: Finally, consider which reasonable outcomes you’d prefer. For instance, how often will each parent see the child? How will you divide holidays, school breaks and vacations?

When you need help negotiating custody arrangements, the compassionate custody lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN can help. Call today to get started.

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Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties.Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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