What You Should Include In Your Child Custody Agreement
For a couple, a divorce can be a very painful process. More often than otherwise, the divorcing couple forgets that their separation can be a terrifying phase for their children. When they hear that their parents are splitting up, the first question they would ask you is, “Who am I going to live with?”
When your spouse and you decide to go your separate ways, one of the hardest things for you to come to terms with is the fact that there could long periods of time, months even, when you would not be able to spend time with your children. This is why it is important for you to create a fair and just custody agreement. You can either draft one on your own with help from your spouse or you could consult a legal professional or attorney.
What should you include in the agreement?
If you are drafting a child custody agreement yourself, you will need to know exactly where to start. Spend some time researching laws specific to your case. If you are a resident of Orange County, you should learn the custody and visitation laws of California. Here are some basic components that should be included in your child custody agreement:
- A declaration of custody
- A visitation schedule
- Methods to review and modify the custody agreement if necessary
- The division of authority and decision making abilities among the parents
- A method to resolve disputes
- Any additional details if needed
Types of custody
Before you create the agreement, your spouse and you should decide what type of custody each of you is going to have. There are two types of custody. They are:
- Physical custody – This refers to the physical custody and care of the child
- Legal custody – This refers to a parent’s ability and right to make major decisions for the child until he or she has grown into an adult
Your spouse and you should also decide how you are going to divide custody. Sole custody implies that only one parent has complete custody of the child. Joint custody means that both spouses share custody of the child. Also, make sure you include a child visitation schedule that includes holidays and vacations.
Be prepared to make changes to your custody agreement as your child grows older. Also include a strong method for dispute resolution because you certainly would not want to be bickering with your ex ten years down the line over your child. Once you have drafted the agreement and it has been approved of by your spouse, you can produce it to your attorney or the court directly during your hearing.
Getting divorced in California can be complicated. Download our free eBook, 18 Important Things to Know About California Divorce to educate yourself on the process.
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