Child custody agreements are drafted with each unique family’s circumstances having been taken into great consideration. For this reason, no two custody agreements are the same. One thing is true of all custody agreements, however: All agreements should be reviewed by child custody attorneys. This is simply good practice, as these child custody attorneys have experience in custody and family law and can ensure that nothing of substance is omitted and everybody’s legal rights are protected.
As you move forward in creating a custody agreement under the advisement of an attorney, there are some questions that are considered staples to this legal practice. While all custody agreements differ, there are several inquiries that need to be answered regardless of the other details.
What do I Need to Know When Drafting a Custody Agreement?
A custody agreement can be as flexible as the people involved want it to be, but for the well-being of all children involved there are some essential questions that must come up as a part of the conversation. The first being, “How is legal and physical custody being arranged?”
Legal custody refers to whomever can make important decisions on behalf of the child and their welfare. Physical custody pertains to whom the child lives with. Parents can choose alternating schedules that fit their lives while giving the child as much exposure to both parents as desired. Legal custody is often easier to figure out, as it does not require the physical moving of the child from place to place.
The second question that should come to mind is, “Will there be a visitation schedule, if we agree to joint physical custody?”
The terms of visitation need to be clearly outlined when there is joint physical custody and when there is a non-custodial parent. A child custody attorney can help parties with joint physical custody devise an appropriate visitation schedule, whether that is a weekly schedule or a 2-2-5 schedule. Child custody attorneys can make sure that the non-custodial parent is still getting the visitation time that they are legally allowed and can help the parent navigate the terms of their visitation schedule.
With physical and legal custody being sorted out, it’s now time to ask, “who will be financially responsible for what?” How will major expenses for the child be paid for? Which parent will provide the child’s health insurance plan? Which parent will claim the child as a dependent on their taxes? These questions need to be sorted out under the purview of a lawyer to ensure that all rights are protected and agreed upon within the letter of the law.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the fact that no child custody agreement is perfect. Circumstances may change, and terms need to be renegotiated over time. This happens a lot more commonly than you’d think. “What happens if something comes up that was not accounted for in the custody agreement?” Figure this out and have this placed into the content of your agreement as well.
Child Custody Attorneys Will Help Through Every Step of the Way
From filing the paperwork to providing their expert guidance, child custody attorneys are an invaluable resource in the drafting of any child custody agreement. The average person doesn’t have much legal experience in these matters, so it is always advisable to recruit the help of a licensed and experienced child custody attorney.