Co-parenting often presents challenges. A well-drafted child custody agreement provides clear boundaries and may make the co-parenting process easier. Consider the following tips to ensure that you draft the best possible agreement for you, your spouse and your children.
Remember the basic elements
Often, parents try to be flexible in their child custody plans. This unfortunately tends to leave too many gaps in the custody agreements that may cause arguments later.
When designing a custody agreement, always consider these basic elements:
- Division of decision-making and parental authority
- Visitation schedule
- Dispute resolution methods
- Child support decisions
- Details on modifying the agreement if needed
Both you and your spouse will likely review the custody agreement multiple times as you co-parent your children. If the language in the agreement constantly reflects a negative tone, that may result in an increase in argumentative feelings between the two of you. Instead, try to include positive language when establishing guidelines for custody.
When drafting your custody agreement, make sure to consider the following details for your visitation schedule:
- Weekday schedule for school-age children
- Holiday schedules
- Sporting and extracurricular activities
- Vacation time
- Any special events
Physical vs. legal custody
Parents with physical custody of the children take care of the children on a daily basis. Legal custody grants a child the right to make major decisions on behalf of the child. Often, one parent retains legal custody, while parents share joint physical custody. In other scenarios, parents share both legal and physical custody.
Reducing disagreements between parents
While drafting a child custody agreement may seem frustrating, the work you put into the agreement may reduce future court battles and disagreements. This may allow your children to grow up in a much more cooperative environment with less stress.