Your child custody agreement is a crucial document that will control where and with whom your child will live. This document will also cover things like medical coverage, where the child will go to school, and religious preferences. It is important then that you take special care in drafting this agreement so that it will be clear and enforceable. Custody agreements that are confusing or silent on major issues may cause you to wind up in court where a judge will be forced to make a decision for you. Here’s a few helpful and vital things you should consider when drafting a child custody agreement.
Identifying The Children
A custody agreement will be useless if it is unclear. What this means is that it must be specific as to which child or children the agreement covers. This can be done by including all children’s full names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. If you end up having more children, do not assume that they will be covered under the original custody agreement. You will likely need to amend or draft an entirely new agreement to include additional children.
The Child Custody Agreement
Whether you agree to joint or sole custody, you must clearly outline the type of custody that you want in order to avoid confusion. As these are legal terms, you may want to consult with a family law lawyer if you are unsure what they mean. If you agree to sole custody with visitation, then you must detail what the visitation schedule will be. This includes drop off and pick up locations, and who will pay for travel costs. Similarly, if you agree to joint custody, then you will need to list the days that the children will be residing with you and the other parent. It is recommended that you also include contingency plans in the event that you need to make a schedule change on the fly.
How To Modify Or Change The Agreement
Inevitably things will change as your children grow older. As a result, you may need to change your agreement or select provisions in the future. Your custody agreement can outline the process of how those changes are to be made. If you and the other parent are on good terms, then you may not need to create an entirely new custody agreement to do this. On the other hand if you don’t agree and there is a change of conditions that was not expected when the original order was entered you can file for a modification.
How To Resolve Disagreements
If a dispute arises, then going back to court should not be your first option. You can draft your custody agreement in such a way where it will describe how disagreements are to be settled. This can be done by listing a neutral third party like a pastor or counselor who can step into the fray when disputes arise. Some couples agree to attend mediation in order to resolve conflicts surrounding a custody agreement.
As each family is different, there may be additional provisions that are specific to your circumstance. For example, if your child has special needs, it may be wise to include a provision on how the cost of medicine and unexpected doctor visits will be handled. Additionally, some couples are particular about the child’s clothing, toys, and general appearance. If this is something that you anticipate being an issue, then you will want to include a provision that will cover those things.
Oklahoma Child Custody Attorneys
The dedicated Tulsa child custody attorneys at Kania Law Office can provide meaningful assistance to you in your child custody case, child support case or other family law matter. If you are seeking child custody or are dealing with a child custody issue in Oklahoma, get in touch with Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or by contacting us online.