Understanding Child Custody Agreements

» Posted by on Oct 24, 2016 in Child Custody | 0 comments

There’s no doubt that going through a divorce can be an arduous and emotionally draining experience. This is especially true for situations involving divorcing couples that have children together. In such a scenario, a divorcing couple will have to learn to set aside their own feelings—whether it be of animosity or great sadness—and prioritize the well-being of the children that are stuck in the middle of their dispute. In an ideal situation, the couple can come to an amicable decision regarding their child custody arrangement.

Navigating a child custody agreement can be thorny, but it’s important to get right because it determines how the divorcing couple will divide their parental responsibilities. Having a solid child custody agreement helps each parent to continue participating in the life of their child once outside the familiar structure of marriage. While laws may slightly differ from state to state, child custody agreements in the U.S. are generally defined as joint custody, joint legal custody, or sole custody arrangements.

Joint custody refers to an arrangement where both parents are awarded physical custody, allowing their children the opportunity to live with both parents following a specific schedule. Joint legal custody refer to situations where one parent is determined to be the primary caregiver, but both are able to share in making decisions regarding their children’s education, health care, religious affiliation, and other details involving their upbringing. Meanwhile, sole custody refers to arrangements where only one person is awarded physical and legal custody of the child, and the other parent is given visitation privileges.

Child custody agreements are finalized and decided on in court. According to the Law Office of Andrew A. Bestafka, Esq., the factors that contribute to a judge’s decision regarding child custody arrangements include the each parent’s living situation, income, and medical needs. Judges also take into account the education and physical needs of the children, as well as their own opinions regarding the matter. The law also divorced parents the option to modify their child custody agreement. As enumerated by BB Law Group PLLC, modifications to the court’s original decision can be made due to changes in financial and living situations for one or both the parents and changes in the children’s educational or medical needs. Custody agreements can also be modified due to cases of abuse, whether from a parent or a parent’s new partner.

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