Child Custody Agreements
Why you should have a professional draft yours
Custody agreements: what are they, why do I need one and how do I go about getting one? These are questions that every separated parent has asked themselves. It is the internal battle we all face when it comes to co-parenting with an ex-spouse. When you finally realize that you need a custody agreement the next thought you may have is that you can do it without professional help. This has gotten many into trouble and has made their co-parenting situation more complex. Let us start by discussing why you need a custody agreement.
Imagine you are with a group of friends and you start playing monopoly. You all have played the game before, so you don’t think you need to review the rule. Then someone get the card to advance to go and collect $200! They pass go their next turn and want another $200. Half the group agrees, the other half does not. So what do you do? As friends, you try work it out. Now imagine playing that same game with all your exes. It most likely will not be as easy to work out. It would have been better to discuss the rules in advance to avoid conflict. This is what it is like to co-parent without a custody agreement. Next you need to know the components of a custody agreement.
A custody agreement is an agreement which outlines the terms of co-parenting. They come in many forms and some people have verbal agreements, others have them written down. They normally detail the custodial schedule between the two parents. They include:
- 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.
Unfortunately, many agreements do not include all the above and each co-parenting situation requires specific provisions. This is one reason you should have a professional draft your agreement.
It is also important to personalize your custody agreement. This is difficult if you don’t have experience drafting these agreements. Remember you are drafting the rules to live by to handle every situation, even those situations that have yet to occur. This is another great reason to have a professional draft your custody agreement. They have experience drafting these documents and they can give you advice on what to include to handle situations that you may not have considered.
You now have a custody agreement and the other party has chosen not to follow it – what can you do? The answer may be nothing if it has not been done properly and made a legally binding document. The agreement must be legally binding and in most States that means it must be signed by a judge and made an order of court in order for you to be able to bring contempt proceedings. Each state and county is different and the process to get your document signed by a judge is also different. This is another great reason to have an experienced professional draft your agreement. They will know the process that must be followed and what needs to be filed with the court.
Before reading this blog, you may have thought you didn’t need a custody agreement, or that a verbal or written agreement was enough. Contact an experienced family lawyer and get an initial consultation to determine what type of agreement works best for you and your children. LaMonaca Law is a family law firm with virtual capabilities. This state-of-the-art Law Firm can help you make sure your custody agreement is official and enforceable. Call LaMonaca Law at 610-892-3877 to schedule an initial consultation.
The information above is provided for general information purposes only. It may not represent the current law in your particular jurisdiction. Nothing in this post is to be viewed as advice from LaMonaca Law or the individual author. It is not to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No one reading this post should act or refrain from acting based on the above information or information accessible through this post without first seeking the appropriate legal counsel on the particular facts and circumstances of one’s particular case from an attorney licensed to practice in one’s own state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction. Any information contained within is not about nor does it include any facts about any particular client of LaMonaca Law or the individual author.