The question of time with and decision making for children are of course the most important issues in family court cases. The language that we use to discuss these issues has changed over time. We no longer talk about “custody”. The parties now make proposals for “parenting time”. The change in the wording is an attempt to make the issue less contentious.
In addition, the law in New Hampshire now starts with the presumption that shared, essentially equal, parenting time is what is in the best interests of the minor children. There is no doubt that children do better when their parents are equal partners in their lives. If a parent asks the court for something other than equal parenting time that parent will have to provide a rationale for that request to the court.
Decision-making, like parenting time, is presumed to be equal, or joint as the law describes it. In other words, parents need to co-parent to make important decisions for their children. Parenting as a couple is difficult. Parenting after a separation is much more so. However, the Court expects that parents will work toward the common goal of raising happy and healthy children.