One of the most emotional aspects of your divorce is the custody and parenting time decisions that have to be made. This includes developing a parenting time schedule and establishing a holiday schedule. Here are some things that are important to include in your custody agreement.
Establish legal custody and physical custody
There are two types of legal custody – sole or joint. The vast majority of parents share joint legal custody of their children, which means that they are required to make major decisions together. These generally include decisions about education, health and welfare. The designation of joint legal custody does not give rise to an automatic 50/50 parenting time schedule; it simply means that you will have a shared parenting agreement and that you will each be involved in decision making for the children. Some parents choose to have joint physical custody arrangements as well, which means there is a significant amount of shared parenting time. Some parties opt to do a 50/50 arrangement, and in that case, they have equal parenting time with the children and may alternate days, or even weeks, with the children. Many parties decide on a schedule that may be more than alternating weekends, but don’t reach the level of 50/50. The best part about settling your parenting time issues without the Court’s involvement is that you can make a schedule that works the best for you and your family, and you are the only people who know what the best for you might be.
A detailed parenting time schedule
It’s important that your parenting time agreement be very detailed. It is more beneficial to you and your spouse that you create a detailed schedule during the divorce so that there is less subject to question following the divorce. For example, your agreement should have specific times for pick-up and drop-off for parenting time. It should also include details about who will be providing the transportation, such as the party who is receiving the children will pick them up from the other parent at the chosen time. This will result in less confusion and unnecessary disputes about who is responsible for what.
A holiday parenting time schedule
You should also include a detailed holiday parenting time schedule to avoid issues with sharing the holidays post-judgment. Keep in mind that you and your spouse will both want to spend time with the children during the holidays and that you need to reach an agreement that provides for a fair amount of time with each of you. How many holidays you want to include in your agreement is up to you and your spouse; some couples choose to include all holidays or school breaks, such as President’s Day weekend and teacher’s convention breaks. Other couples choose to only cover the major holidays, such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.
If you have questions about a custody agreement, contact DeTorres & DeGeorge to schedule a consultation today.