Your Legal Guide Through Life’s Twists And Turns

7 things many couples may forget to consider when negotiating child custody

When you and your spouse decide to divorce, your greatest concern might be how splitting up will affect your children. If you and your spouse want to establish a strong co-parenting relationship, you will take into consideration a custody agreement that is in your child’s best interests.

However, when you are negotiating a child custody agreement, you may neglect to consider some important factors. Three of these include:

  1. If you and your spouse plan to share joint legal custody for your child, you will have to make many important decisions together. Those include what kind of medical care your child will receive and what religion you will agree to raise your child in. Those decisions can be difficult to agree on if you have very different views on the effectiveness and necessity to receive vaccines or have been raised in very different faith traditions.
  2. You should establish a holiday schedule for your child yearly. You want to think ahead and realize that you won’t get to spend every Christmas day with your child from now until they turn 18. You will need to regularly rotate which holidays your child spends with you and which they spend with your ex. So, you may spend Thanksgiving with your child this year and Christmas with them the next year.
  3. You need to establish a vacation schedule and parameters about how you or your ex vacations with your child. You need to establish how long beforehand one of you needs to notify the other about an upcoming vacation. You also need to agree if it is OK if one of you wants to take your child out of the country.
  4. You need to agree on how you will allow your child to communicate with you and their other parent when not in your physical custody. Will you use phone calls? Video chats? Texts? All of the above?
  5. Also, which form of communication will you use with your ex? Sometimes, divorced parents limit their own communication to email and text to lower the chances of conflict.
  6. How will you and your spouse split extra costs for your child? Will you each cover half of extracurricular activities or music lessons?
  7. How often will you revisit your custody plan? As your child grows, their needs will change. You may need to revisit your child custody plan to accommodate that, especially as your child reaches an age where they want more of a say in how they spend their time.

Working through a child custody plan with your soon-to-be-ex isn’t easy. You should consult a family law attorney if you want to pursue sole custody or need guidance on how to establish the right child custody agreement for your circumstances.


FindLaw Network