When you informed your children that you and your spouse were filing for a divorce, they each may have reacted in their own unique ways. While such news sparks a lot of changes in a child’s life, there are steps you can take from the start to make sure they have the support they need in order to cope and move on in life with the least amount of disruption possible. You can lay groundwork for support by carefully writing out terms in a child custody agreement.
The more detail you incorporate into your co-parenting agreement, the less room there will be for confusion or disputes. By taking the time to think things through and carefully choose how to word things, you can ensure that your children’s well-being is the central focus of child custody proceedings.
Construct a physical and legal custody plan in writing
When you file for divorce, it has immediate implications in the lives of your children, including physical and legal custody issues. Physical custody refers to permanent residence, meaning where your kids will live after you finalize your divorce. Legal custody, on the other hand, has to do with the authority to make decisions on behalf of your children for issues such as education, health and more.
If you believe your children are at risk in the presence of their other parent, you might want to consider requesting sole custody, which means the terms of your agreement would state that you are your children’s custodian and have sole authority to make decisions on their behalf. Even if you and your spouse want to share custody, it’s best to write out exact terms of agreement so that there’s no question left unanswered regarding custody issues.
Address issues such as holidays and vacations in your custody agreement
If you are a custodial parent and your ex is going to have visitation, you’ll want to be especially thorough in writing the terms of your agreement. For instance, consider where your children will spend their birthdays. Also, decide which parent will attend special school or sporting events. Do you get along well enough to spend holidays together?
There’s no right or wrong way to divvy up birthdays, holidays and other special events. What matters most is making sure that, whatever you and your ex agree to, it’s spelled out in clear, written terms of agreement in your child custody contract.
What happens if your ex doesn’t stick to your agreement?
If you and your co-parent are able to work together in an amicable fashion to carry out the terms of your child custody agreement, your kids have a good chance of adapting to a post-divorce lifestyle without a lot of negative stress. However, if your ex is uncooperative or disregards the terms of your agreement, it can make life miserable for you and your children.
When a New Hampshire family court judge issues a child custody order, both parents must adhere to its terms, no matter what. You have the law on your side if your ex is not following the rules and can bring such matters to the court’s attention at any time.