Things to Consider When Drafting a Custody Agreement
A child custody agreement is the initial framework for divorcing parents that establishes how each is to act in their co-parenting role. This single document can determine a lot; therefore, it is critical that it is drafted correctly the first time. Conflicting statements, gaps, and even a neglect to follow Nevada laws can harm your ability to enforce the agreement.
In its most basic form, a custody agreement will enforce:
- Legal custody arrangements
- Access periods including special events and holidays
- Decision-making and responsibilities of each parent
- Financial responsibilities and shared financial obligations
The Shortcomings of Standard Child Custody Agreements
If you only use the standard agreement set forth by the state, you may notice it has several shortcomings. One of the biggest is that they do not take into account a child’s developing needs as they get older. In fact, most agreements are based on the age of the child at the time they are written – and rarely will they apply as a child gets older. The best agreements are those that affect the child for the rest of their lives rather than just their immediate age and situation when the agreement is drafted.
Another issue is that these agreements often focus on the parents’ needs rather than the child’s needs.
How to Create an Agreement in the Best Interests of the Child
The courts require that all agreements be in the best interest of the child – not the adults taking care of them. Some ways to ensure the agreement is child-focused include:
- Ensuring the child has a developed relationship with both parents.
- Ensuring the child is not disadvantaged because one parent chose to end the relationship.
- Ensuring parents are making compromises for the child and not the other way around.
If parents are unable to agree in the best interests of their child, the courts will have to intervene and ensure that the child’s interests are at the forefront of their co-parenting relationship.
A Few Things to Consider First
Before deciding what you want in your agreement, there are a few things you will need to consider and address for a well-rounded document:
- Put everything in writing. If you have something that you are concerned about, it should be addressed in the agreement. Doing so can avoid conflicts later.
- Have an area of the agreement that discusses conflict resolution and how modifications to the order will be addressed or handled by the parties.
- Leave emotions out of your agreement planning sessions.
- Keep in mind that minor violations will happen – on both sides. But, do realize that you and your ex are both legally bound by the terms of the agreement, so do not make an agreement you cannot follow yourself.
- Address things like financial support, including medical payments, extra-curricular activities, etc.
- Do not forget to address the issue of transportation or how things will be managed if you choose to move away.
- Realize that a judge doesn’t know you or your children; therefore, they will refer to the legal standard if you and your ex cannot agree on paper.
Contact De Castroverde Law Group Today
If you are in the middle of a divorce, speak with an attorney at De Castroverde Law Group regarding your child custody agreements and support. We can assist you with drafting an agreement that benefits everyone and always keeps the child’s best interests first. Call us at 702-222-9999 now to schedule a consultation or fill out an online contact form with your questions.