Preparing an Effective Custody Agreement
There are various kinds of custody agreements.
Some custody agreements are simple. They contain the basic required information and not much else. The provisions in simple agreements can often be misinterpreted since they can be vague.
Some custody agreements are generic. These are often just a standard form that an attorney or mediator will enter your names and case number on, check off a few boxes on, and stamp it to be filed with the court.
Some custody agreements are very elaborate and extremely detailed. They contain pages and pages of rules and provisions. Almost every imaginable scenario is addressed in the plan.
What kind of custody agreement should you make for your child? The answer is simple: Find out what works for your child, reach an agreement, and put it in writing.
The most effective custody agreements are the ones created by parents who strive to meet their child’s needs. There is no right or wrong answer or some magical formula that is going to tell you how to create your custody arrangements.
You will need to create your custody agreement according to the needs of your child and the desires of the parents.
Some parents (despite their divorce) are able to put their differences aside for the sake of their child and create an amiable custody agreement. They don’t feel the need to include a lot of details since they are willing and able to cooperate with each other and do what is best for their child on their own.
Other parents do not get along so well but are able to prepare a parenting plan detailed enough to be effective and successful. They may not like each other but their common bond with their child enables them to work together to create an effective plan. They rely on the parenting plan to keep them on track.
Other parents are so volatile that they follow every detail of their custody plan to the letter. They do not bend or deviate from the plan. They will even try to sabotage the other parent by doing things just to irritate the other parent when things are not covered in the plan. Parents like this need to have as many details as possible in their custody agreement.
You don’t have to be at each other’s throats in order to include a lot of details in your plan. In fact, a thoroughly detailed custody agreement can actually prevent conflict. A detailed parenting plan will have clearly stated rules and should run smoothly as long as the rules are agreed on and followed.
To have an effect custody agreement you will need to know what to include.
Basic custody agreements should contain provisions that address legal and physical custody, a process for reviewing the plan, a method for modifying the plan, a form of dispute resolution and an effective visitation schedule. It should also include additional provisions to serve as the extra “rules” in your agreement. These elements should be discussed with your ex and all aspects of the custody plan should be agreed upon if you want to have an effective custody agreement.
You may want to create a temporary agreement and give it a trial run before you finalize your custody arrangements. This will allow you to gauge what works, what doesn’t, and will give you the insight you will need to make changes.
The bottom line is if you want an effective custody agreement, you are going to have to work together to create one. You both love your child and want what is best for him. This should serve as the common ground you will need to stand on as you move forward in the custody process.