Including Provisions in Your Custody Agreement
A child custody agreement is an extremely important document that will largely influence your life as a co-parent. Child custody agreements essentially lay out how you, your co-parent, and your child will be living your daily lives. For this reason, you and your co-parent must ensure that the rules of raising your child are clearly defined in the document. Including provisions in your custody agreement is a good way to thoroughly cover every aspect of your responsibilities as co-parents.
Before adding provisions to your custody agreement
Child custody agreements must be given a lot of time and thought. They must be thorough and include everything that you will need to know as a co-parent for your child. Before adding provisions to your custody agreement there are a few major issues that must be accounted for. A basic child custody agreement should include:
A definition for the type of legal custody that will be implemented. Legal custody refers to the decisions making responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to one or both co-parents.
A definition for the type of physical custody that will be implemented. Physical custody refers to the day-to-day caretaking responsibilities for the child. These responsibilities can be given to one or both co-parents.
A method should be defined for making modifications to the custody agreement if circumstances are to change in the future and the custody agreement needs to be changed.
A basic visitation schedule must be created following the determination of physical custody. This visitation schedule will determine how the child’s time will be divided among both co-parents.
Most states require by law that co-parents include these issues in their custody agreement. Be sure to consult with you attorney or a family law professional in your state to determine what needs to be included in your own custody agreement.
Including your own provisions in your custody agreement
Now that the basic issues of your custody agreement have been defined, you and your co-parent will be able to add your own provisions if you feel that its necessary. These provisions will be useful in saving you and your co-parent a lot of stress and unneeded conflict in the future. The easiest way to come up with these provisions is to reflect on what issues you and your co-parent have currently regarding your co-parenting relationship. You may also come up with provisions by trying to predict and problems that may arise in the future and creating preventative provisions.
The most common types of provisions are used to provide more detail to the issues included in your basic child custody agreement. For instance, if you and your co-parent agree that details need to be added to your legal or physical custody agreements you may do so. Other provisions may also be added regarding separate issues such as how you will allow your child to interact with new partners or how you and you co-parent choose to contact one another. Any stipulation can be created as long as you and your co-parent come to an agreement on it. If you and your co-parent wish to make a provision but you cannot come to an agreement on the situation, you may request that a judge make a determination.
Remember that a judge must approve all provisions. A judge may also request you to state your argument as to why a provision is needed. Be sure to have a valid reason for creating each provision otherwise it is likely that it will not be approved.