When couples decide to divorce, it not only affects the relationship between husband and wife, but it also greatly affects the children. This is a very difficult time for a family, so it is important that custody arrangements are made as smoothly as possible. The agreements will vary among individual families, but they don’t have to be difficult. It is ideal to work closely with a family law attorney to ensure the agreement is as fair and straightforward as possible.
Different Forms of Custody
One of the first details to think about is the type of custody each parent will have. There are generally three types: sole, joint, and split. Sole custody gives one parent both legal and physical custody of the children. Joint provides each parent equal time with the children with the option of sharing legal custody. Split occurs when there is more than one child and each parent takes care of the children, but not all of them at once.
When working with the family law attorney, a clear visitation schedule should be fully established for the non-custodial parent. It is best for parents to work these situations out themselves based on their own demands and circumstances. If a parent moves to a different state, he or she will have to have a specified visitation, since weekly visits will not be possible. Instead, an extended visit in the summer would make up for that. Holidays are another subject that needs special attention. Ideally, each parent would either rotate holidays or divide them equally.
Another component of child custody is the major costs associated with the children and who will pay them. These expenses include items like health insurance coverage, dependents on tax returns, or school tuition. Keep in mind that these costs are not factored into child support payments. Both parties in the divorce should agree on these shared expenses and have the family law attorney place the finalized decision in the divorce agreement.
Power Over Major Decisions
In many instances, major life decisions will need to be made for the kids. While some decisions are not very significant and will not require the input of two parents, others will be more substantial. It needs to be clearly laid out in the divorce decree who is going to make these arrangements and whether or not the other parent will have any say. These decisions may include healthcare issues, school issues, religion, and how to discipline. It is best that both the mother and father work together for a consistent upbringing.
Keep in mind that custody agreements are not set in stone. There may be times when the arrangement needs to be altered, so always remember to consult your family law attorney if changes need to be made. These decisions are often made during a stressful time, and it is possible to forget about some details that need to be added. In addition, life events can happen that may require major changes, such as moving to another state. The best thing to remember is to be open for the betterment of the kids.
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