Custody Agreements for School Age Children
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.
What should I include in my custody agreement?
Your custody agreement will serve as the rules for raising your child until he or she reaches adulthood. You should carefully consider each and every aspect of your plan to ensure it is what is best for your child.
Your custody agreement should contain at least the following elements:
- A declaration as to the type of custody each parent shall have
- A designation of decision making authority that details who will be responsible for making major decisions in the child's life
- A child custody and visitation schedule that includes a holiday and vacation schedule as well as a regular residential schedule
- A method of dispute resolution
- A method for periodic review of the plan and making any necessary modifications
- Any other relevant provisions or stipulations you would like to include
When you use Custody X Change to create your custody agreement, you can feel confident that you aren't leaving anything out of your plan since the software covers everything you need.
The laws pertaining to child custody and visitation vary from state to state but one common practice shared by courts nationwide is that when parents are able to agree on a custody arrangement, the court will generally approve that agreement as long as it in the best interest of the child.
On the other hand, if parents are unable to reach an agreement, the court or an officer of the court will ultimately make the custody arrangements for them.
As parents, you know your child better than anyone. It is only natural and logical that you should be the ones making the decisions that will have an effect on your child's future. You should make every effort to work together to reach an agreement so you remain in control of your child's custody arrangements.
Resources such as counseling and mediation are available to help you if you are having a difficult time and can't seem to reach an agreement with the other parent on your own.
You can also use Custody X Change to help you reach an agreement.
Custody X Change is not only a great way to create your parenting plan--it can be a valuable negotiating tool, as well.
With Custody X Change, you simply sit down at your computer and create a proposed parenting plan. Then you will be able to print out the plan and present it to the other parent.
The other parent can then approve the portions of the custody arrangements that he or she agrees with, and make suggestions for any parts he or she does not like.
You can easily edit your proposed plan, print off a newly revised copy for the other parent to review, and continue working in this manner until your custody agreement is complete.
You may find this method of negotiation is easier for you than face to face negotiating would be since you will be dealing with the documents instead of the other person directly. This creates a more professional, less personal environment and helps you focus on your child instead of each other.
There are many things that should be considered when creating a custody agreement for a child that is old enough to attend school but one of the most significant factors is distance.
The proximity of your homes to each other and to your child's school is something the court is going to consider when approving your custody agreement.
If you live reasonably close to the other parent, your child's school schedule will probably have little effect on your plan since it will be feasible for each parent to make sure the child is getting to and from school. Your visitation schedule can include weekends as well as school days.
If you live an hour or more apart from the other parent, distance becomes a factor. You will need to create a parenting plan that allows your child to spent time with the other parent without disrupting his or her school schedule.
Your child will more than likely need to spend the time the custodial or primary parent during the school week. The other parent can see the child on the weekends and spend additional time with the child during school breaks and vacations.
If a parent lives far away, your child will need to be with the custodial parent when school is in session because your child won't be able to miss school.
Time and travel expenses will need to be considered when creating your custody agreement.
Long distance custody arrangements typically include provisions that permit the child to spend extended periods of time with the other parent during winter break, spring break, and summer vacations.
Many school districts place their annual calendars online. You should be able to review the calendar each year and determine which days the child will be out of school and when vacations start and end.
When you use Custody X Change to create your custody agreement, you can create a child visitation schedule that includes the school breaks and vacations and prints off in a PDF and a calendar form.
You can add provisions to the agreement that address how extended weekends, school breaks, and school vacations will be handled in the future.
You may also want to include a provision that will allow the non-custodial parent to travel to where the child lives to have visitation. It is a lot easier for an adult to travel to the child, especially if it is for a weekend visit.