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What should be included in a child custody agreement?

Child custody agreements are often worked out between parents so that the child doesn’t have to live in limbo while the parents plod through the process of going to trial over these matters. Before you sit down to try to come up with an agreement, however, there are some specific points that you should be prepared to discuss, since these are critical in a child custody agreement.

What type of custody is being sought?

In most cases, the answer to this question is going to be joint custody. Of course, if only one parent is going to have a part in the child’s life, the custody agreement will reflect sole custody. Some divorce cases include claims of abuse or similar issues. The parent who is claiming abuse in those cases might pursue sole custody of the child, but this usually requires a trial.

Who is going to make decisions about what happens with the child?

Decisions are going to come up regarding the child’s education, health care and other important matters. Knowing who will make these decisions is vital, especially in emergency situations. One or both parents or the court are the options. You should know that each type of decision can be handled differently. This means that one parent can make medical decisions, but the other parent makes education decisions.

When you are going through negotiations regarding custody, it is important to understand how each decision can impact your rights and relationship with your child. From there, you can use this information to decide how to negotiate the agreement that will govern matters related to your child in the future.

Source: FindLaw, “Custody Considerations: Step-By-Step,” accessed Nov. 22, 2016

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