5 Things to Know About Parental Rights and Responsibilities (PR&R) in Vermont

In Vermont, child custody agreements are called Parental Rights & Responsibilities (PR&R) orders. You can always consult an attorney if you have questions about child custody related issues.

Here are some basic things you’ll want to consider, prior to entering into a PR&R agreement.

woman holding her baby in the air as the sun sets over a body of water behind her
woman holding her baby in the air as the sun sets over a body of water behind her

1. Whether you were married to your partner or not, a PR&R agreement may be required to resolve child custody issues.

  • Such an agreement can alleviate stress and create a predictable schedule and routine for you and your child.

2. You and your (ex) partner can agree to any arrangement(s) related to child custody that can be reached. This agreement will be presumed to be in the best interests of the child.

3. If you and your (ex) partner cannot agree on a child custody arrangement, the Court will decide. However, the Court cannot order split or shared custody. The Court can only award parental rights and responsibilities primarily or solely to one parent.

  • The Court will require evidence to make its decision about child custody issues including parental rights and responsibilities. This evidence could include your testimony about what you want to happen, as well as information about your relationship with your child and current living situation. You will also need to provide information related to your financial situation to care for the child.
parent holding their childs hand
parent holding their childs hand

4. An agreement (or court order) on child custody and parental responsibilities must include at least the following issues:

  • Physical living arrangements
  • Parent child contact
  • Education of the child
  • Medical, dental, and health care
  • Travel arrangements
  • Procedures of communicating about the child’s welfare
  • Procedures for resolving disputes (either mediation and binding arbitration, or filing a motion with the court)

Here is the Vermont Legislature’s documentation on Agreements Between Parents (15 V.S.A. § 666)

5. The Court will only modify a PR&R based “upon a showing of extraordinary, real, substantial, and unanticipated change of circumstances.”

  • This standard is meant to keep most of the issues outside the courtroom and between the parents to work out. It is also why, as stated in #4 above, most issues about the child’s situation will be worked out and included in any PR&R order.

If you have any questions about what is best for you and your child, schedule a free consultation with us.

lawyer typing at desk next to gavil

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