3 important things to remember when making a custody agreement

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Child Custody |

Without a custody agreement, you and your co-parent can face confusion and frustration about your responsibilities and schedules. Even with an agreement, unclear or missing elements can still cause tension and stress.

It can be challenging to create a well-rounded custody agreement that covers all of your bases. Still, you can start off right by addressing a few key components, minimizing the potential for later struggles.

1. The possibility of one parent relocating

On average, people change jobs about every four years. If you share physical custody, it is a good idea to address how far you and your spouse can live from each other and keep the same arrangement. Doing so is key if one of you has a job that may require relocation or expects to change careers soon.

A specific mileage limitation usually works better than generic wording. You can decide what the impacts of one parent moving outside the predefined radius will be. This detail is important because it can affect where a child attends school, as well as pick-up and drop-off responsibilities. You can also put in the agreement how far in advance one parent must notify the other about such a move.

2. Visits of overnight guests

A sensitive area can involve how parents use the home and who stays overnight. You may worry about a nonrelative adult or even another child staying in the co-parent’s home without adequate supervision. As a result, it can be wise to outline guidelines for when significant others or their kids can spend the night.

Similar considerations can apply to using the home or portions of it for short-term rentals. Detailing and agreeing to expectations can prevent an uncomfortable situation.

3. The right of first refusal

Making sure you dedicate enough time with the kids is challenging. Missed opportunities can be particularly frustrating. For example, one parent might get called away during normal custody hours, which requires them to find a sitter or caregiver.

The parenting agreement can include stipulations that require parents to contact each other first about providing such care instead of hiring someone else or leaving the child with a member of the extended family. Defining how stepparents or other family members factor into such plans can also clear up confusion.

Even when you create a solid custody agreement, new circumstances can require a modification. However, when you start with practical arrangements that address vital issues, you can make things easier for the entire family.

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