Basic Custody Agreements
You can write up your own custody agreement (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates parenting plans. You make each part of your agreement, and then you can print professional documents of your plan.
If you find yourself in a situation where you need to file for custody of your child, you may not know where to start.
You may want to research the specific laws in your state that pertain to child custody and visitation. However, the basic components of a custody agreement are:
- A declaration of custody
- A child visitation schedule
- The division of parental authority and decision making abilities
- Methods for reviewing and modifying the custody agreement
- A method of dispute resolution
- Any additional provisions you would like to include
Custody X Change is a great tool you may use to create your custody agreement.
Custody X Change is easy to use. You simply navigate through the software and enter your information and you can feel confident that your plan is complete. The end result is a professional document that is easy to understand and organized.
You will need to decide what kind of custody each parent is going to have and include it in your agreement.
There are two types of custody. They may be referred to by different terms in various states but their meanings are inherently the same:
- Physical custody refers to the actual physical care and custody of the child.
- Legal custody refers to a parent's right to make major decisions for the child.
You will need to decide how you are going to divide both types of custody:
- Sole custody means that one parent has custody.
- Joint custody means both parents have custody.
It is possible to have different combinations of custody. For example, one parent may have sole physical custody while both parents share joint legal custody.
Once you have decided which type and kind of custody you want, including this in your custody agreement is as easy as clicking your mouse when you use Custody X Change.
You will need to include a child visitation schedule in your custody agreement.
You will need to schedule regular visitation, holiday visitation, and a vacation schedule in your plan.
Once you decide how you are going to share your child's time, you can use Custody X Change to create a child visitation schedule. You can select a repeating cycle and print out a visitation calendar so you will always know what to expect and you won't have to bother with counting days on a regular calendar.
The ability to make major decisions for your child is a right granted by legal custody.
If one parent has sole legal custody, he or she will be responsible for all of the decisions.
If parents have joint legal custody, it is a good idea to include a declaration that states who will be responsible for the various types of decisions.
This pertains to decisions regarding the child's education, medical care and treatment, religious upbringing and other important factors in your child's life.
You may decide that both parents should have equal input into the decision-making process or you may divide up some or all of the responsibilities.
For example, one parent may be responsible for the child's religious training while the other is responsible for making decisions regarding the child's education. Both parents may be responsible for the child's medical care.
However you decide to divide the responsibility, Custody X Change allows you to add the stipulations to your custody agreement.
The needs of your child will change as he or she grows older. The custody agreement you create now may not be relevant in five years.
It's a good idea to include a process for periodically reviewing the plan and for making changes.
If you do make changes to your agreement you can file the changes with the court and ask the court to modify your plan accordingly.
Custody X Change isn't some sort of disposable software that you use once and delete. After you create your initial plan, you can use Custody X Change to modify your agreement to reflect the changes. It is an easy way to document your custody agreement modifications.
The last thing you want to do is spend the next ten years (or more) fighting with your ex about your child.
You should include a method for dispute resolution that you will be able to use if you disagree in the future.
Some parents agree to meet with a counselor, a trusted mutual friend, a religious leader, or even return to mediation in an effort to resolve their disputes. However you decide to settle your disputes, returning to court should be the very last alternative.
Custody X Change allows you to include additional provisions regarding the care and custody of your child in your custody agreement. You may select from some basic choices and you may also include your own provisions that are unique to your situation.
If you are tired of sending your child in nice clothes only to have her returned in stained up raggedy ones, you can include a stipulation in your plan regarding the care and return of your child's property.
If you find that you are always the one transporting the child back and forth between homes, you may address transportation issues.
You may include any provisions that you would like in your custody agreement. A judge will typically approve an agreement that is jointly submitted by the parents.
If you are unable to reach an agreement, the court will make the decision for you. It is imperative that you make every effort to reach an agreement with your ex. If not, you relinquish control over your custody arrangements and your child's fate will be in the judge's hands.