Child Custody Agreements - The Elephant In The Room

Separating from the parent of your children is hard for you and the children involved. When there are no children involved, you can part ways and then heal on your own schedule. However, sharing children may require you to maintain an amicable relationship with your former spouse. Children are often the innocent victims of a divorce. It is important to make sure they do not feel like they are at fault for the separation and they should not have to be forced to choose a parent. All divorces should have a child custody agreement that both parties can agree on, even if it means having a lawyer help you create one.

Why Negotiate

Often, one parent is rarely okay with losing all custody, or any custody of their child. It is important to think about the children's best interests when setting up custody. You want to make sure children get equivalent time with both parents. When you work with a lawyer to negotiate the terms of the agreement, you will let them handle the stress and fighting. This allows you to continue a positive relationship with your child and not let them see your emotions.

Negotiating Tools

If you do not want to hire a lawyer, you can use a couple of other tools to assist with negotiating. Many states require parents to take a class on co-parenting following divorces and will offer mediators that will help you create a schedule. You can use either software programs or handwritten notes to track your child's activities and your activities. This will help you determine a schedule with your child's best interest. You want to make sure you try not to disrupt their normal routine more than it already is with the divorce.

Where Lawyers Help

Lawyers, while expensive, will make sure you fully understand the schedule being created and how it will affect you. They will also make sure you are treated fairly, your voice is heard, and assist you in the enforcement. If you do not create a custody arrangement before the court, the judge will assign one to you. This is why it is important to at least allow a lawyer to review a custody arrangement that you have written yourself, before signing.

It is important to keep in mind that even if you agree on a custody arrangement, problems can arise. Parents are both expected to uphold the visitation schedule and if they do not, the law will be on the side of the signed agreement. If you are planning to deviate from the agreed plan, make sure that you document the agreed change with your ex so there are no complications. 

Contact a child custody attorney for more information.