Matters of child custody can be at the center of many heated battles during a divorce. Determining who will have custody of the children, and what that custody arrangement looks like can be challenging for many parents.
One of the best ways to avoid any contention regarding child custody in the future is to work out a comprehensive and detailed child custody agreement during our divorce. The best child custody agreements provide clear direction and guidance for both parents by including the following three essential details.
1. Well-Defined Visitation Schedule
Visitation is a right that most non-custodial parents reserve after a divorce. It is essential that your child custody agreement contain a clear and unambiguous visitation schedule to avoid any potential conflicts in the future.
Your attorney can help you reach an agreement with your spouse regarding visitation. You will want to include a defined weekly visitation schedule for both the school year and the summer months. You will also want to outline which parent will have the children for major holidays and special occasions.
A good visitation schedule must include specific details that state how and where children will be exchanged, who is allowed around the children during each visit, and any limitations on traveling with the children.
2. Geographic Restrictions
It's important that you include geographic restrictions in your child custody agreement. Without these restrictions, you would have to take your former spouse to court to prevent them from relocating with your child in the future.
Your attorney can help you define a reasonable geographic area in which you can maintain your visitation schedule. Outlining this geographic area within your child custody agreement will ensure that you are able to maintain contact with your children without having to travel a significant distance.
3. Conflict Resolution
It is inevitable that one or both parents will need to temporarily alter the arrangements of the custody agreement at some point.
Most parents are able to maintain flexibility and accommodate these changes in order to maintain the parent-child relationship, but you shouldn't count on your former spouse being amicable over time.
Work with your attorney to determine the best method for resolving conflicts over your custody agreement. By detailing an approach to conflict resolution within the child custody agreement, both parents agree to utilize the defined approach when they are unable to reach an agreement regarding custody changes on their own.
For more information, reach out to a custody lawyer near you.