Things to Consider When Drafting a Child Custody Agreement

Many parents think that it will be easy to negotiate an agreement dealing with child custody and parenting arrangements after a separation.  While you and your ex-spouse may easily come to an agreement on the big issues, it is often the smaller issues that end up being sources of conflict for the family. At Blackburn Lawyers – our Richmond Hill divorce lawyers have many years of experience in finalizing child custody agreements for clients. Contact us for assistance on this if you need legal help on this.

A detailed child custody agreement that has been drafted, or at least approved, by lawyers and signed by the parties can save much money, time and stress down the road.  There are many things to consider when drafting a child custody agreement and we can ensure that you cover them all.

What can a child custody agreement cover?

The two major areas that a child custody agreement will cover are:

  • each parent’s right to make decisions for or on behalf of a child (known as custody or decision-making ability), and
  • where the child will live (known as parenting time or access).

Who will make the decisions?

Your agreement can specify that one parent will be in charge of decision-making, that the parents must agree on any major decisions affecting the child, or that each parent will be in charge of certain decisions.  For example, one parent might be given the right to make decisions with respect to the child’s education while the other parent can make decisions regarding the child’s health care. Major decisions include:

  • choice of school or day care facility,
  • attendance at a religious institution, and
  • choices regarding medical care.

Typically, day-to-day decisions affecting the child are made by the parent who is with the child at the time.  Examples of this type of decision include:

  • what will the child eat today; and
  • does the child’s cough mean they are unable to attend school today

What is a parenting schedule?

A parenting schedule sets out where the child is living at different times of the day, week, month or year. Depending on the age and needs of the child, parenting schedules can vary greatly. It is your agreement, so consider what will work best for your family or what will meet the needs of your child.

Other things to consider when drafting a child custody agreement include:

  • school holidays,
  • vacations,
  • day care,
  • the logistics of transferring the child between households,
  • extra-curricular activities,
  • access for grand-parents or other important individuals,
  • what happens when a child is ill and cannot attend school,
  • what happens when a parent is ill or has an emergency, and
  • a preferred method of communicating about day-to-day issues.

Think about the future

Think about how you will deal with any future disputes.  Your lawyer will make sure that you address all of your current issues, but something new is bound to arise as your children get older.  If you can agree on a process for resolving future disputes, you will be ahead of the game.  Some options might include mediation or the use of a parenting coordinator.

Consult a child custody lawyer before you sign an agreement

Your Richmond Hill Child Custody Lawyer can ensure that you consider all the relevant factors in your case.  A well thought out child custody agreement can save your family the stress of dealing with disputes in the future, which is best for the health and happiness of your child.   Contact one of our family law lawyers today.  You can book a consultation by clicking here.  We proudly represent clients across Richmond Hill and the Greater Toronto Area.