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How to Choose the Right Custodial Agreement for Your Children

How to Choose the Right Custodial Agreement for Your Children

September 21, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

How to Choose the Right Custodial Agreement for Your Children

September 21, 2023

By Johnson/Turner Legal

Divorce can be hard on both parents and children, and it can be tough to know what is best for them sometimes. Learn how to choose a custodial agreement here.

Parenting after divorce is becoming more and more widespread in America. About 23% of children in the country live with just one parent.

If you are in a marriage or a relationship that you think is nearing the end, you may be thinking about what will happen to your children once this takes place. Well, one of the first things that you and your spouse will have to do is come up with a custodial agreement.

Luckily for you, the options with child custody agreements continue to increase. Read on to find out more about what some of these options are.

Sole Custody

Of all of the child custody agreements that parents can come up with, this one tends to be the most extreme. Child custody laws make this one difficult to recommend and judges tend to only do so if they feel like it is absolutely necessary for the child.

What this type of custody does is it gives one parent complete authority over the child’s wellbeing. This means that the child lives with that parent full-time, and that parent decides what school the child goes to, what doctors the child goes to, and any other major decisions that can impact the child’s well-being.

While this means that a child lives with one parent, it does not automatically mean that the other parent can never visit the child. They can still be granted visitation rights depending on the circumstances surrounding this type of case.

However, average parents should not go in expecting to get this type of arrangement. Why is that? This is typically reserved for situations where the court rules that one parent is unfit to raise the child.

Examples of this can be if one parent has a drug addiction, one parent is involved in several criminal activities, one parent is a sex offender, or one parent is deemed mentally unfit. If you think that you have a case against your spouse on this, you need to speak to a lawyer to see if it meets the prerequisites.

Primary Custody

Another type of arrangement that parents might agree to is for one parent to receive primary custody of the child. This tends to happen when one parent is willing to dedicate more time to the child than the other might be able to.

This typically means that the parent that gets rewarded will be the primary residence of the child. As for the other parent, they will likely get visitation rights for a certain period. This can be anything from weekends to summers, specific holidays, specific birthdays, and more.

Most commonly, it may mean that the primary parent has custody of the child on weekdays and the other parent would have custody on the weekends.

One reason why parents may want this is because one parent may have a demanding job. This may require them to work long hours during the week and it may even require them to travel for their job regularly. In this type of situation, it would likely benefit the child to live with a parent who does not have these types of career demands more often than one who does.

This used to be the traditional arrangement between parents when they would get divorced. It would likely result in the mother getting primary custody and the father getting weekend visitation rights along with some holidays.

However, there is one alternative agreement that is becoming more widely accepted in the US legal system.

Joint Custody

In modern times, it is more likely that both parents are working full-time jobs and have a lot on each of their plates. That is why more and more parents prefer to have a joint custody agreement.

In this type of agreement, the child spends an equal amount of time living with both parents. This means special events such as birthdays and holidays are equally split among the two parents.

It also means that regular custody rights are split equally. It could mean that the parents rotate between having three and four days with the child each week. Or, it could mean that the kid alternates weeks between living with each parent.

This tends to be an arrangement that US courts are leaning more towards as a default option. There are at least 11 states in the country that legally have this as the default option.

About nine more states have laws in place where shared physical custody is the default. Seven other states have legal language that encourages each parent to have the maximum parenting time with their child that they can get.

If this option is possible between you and your spouse, it should be the one that you try to go for to make sure that your child still gets quality time with each parent.

Other Arrangements

While these are three of the main custodial agreements that you may find, other options can be put in place. This tends to come down to your specific circumstances.

An example can be if parents prefer to have an arrangement where one parent has 60% of the custody. In this situation, a child may live with one parent four days a week and the other parent three days per week.

Or, depending on the work schedule, this may allow one parent that has a demanding job to take custody during slower times of the year.

An example could be a professional athlete that plays their sport for seven months per year. They could ask to have primary custody for the five months per year that they are not playing the sport and traveling on the road.

Get the Right Custodial Agreement

These are some of the options you have if you are considering a custodial agreement with your spouse. The most recommended option here is to file for joint custody to make sure both parents are still present in the child’s life.

However, your specific circumstances may warrant a different arrangement. Primary custody may work better for you and in extreme cases, you may even need to file for sole custody.

Do you need help reviewing these types of custody? Book a guidance call with us today.


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