When a couple with children decides to separate, one of the most critical aspects is determining custody arrangements for their kids. Custody agreements ensure that children`s needs are met, and both parents` rights are protected. However, it’s essential to understand that a custody agreement isn`t legally valid until it meets certain requirements. In this article, we will cover how to make a custody agreement legal.
1. Consult with an Attorney: A custody agreement is a legal document that affects your parental rights, your child`s life, and your financial obligations toward your child. It`s crucial to work with an attorney who has experience in family law to ensure that your agreement is legally binding and enforceable in case of future conflicts.
2. Discuss the Arrangement: Before making any decisions, both parents should discuss custody arrangements. This means discussing the living arrangements, visitation schedules, medical care, education, and child support. Once both parties agree, the agreement should be put in writing.
3. Put it in Writing: A verbal agreement is not enforceable, so it`s essential to put everything in writing. Drafting the agreement may require the help of an attorney, or you may use a custody agreement template available online. When drafting the agreement, be clear and concise, outlining all details of the agreement, including the living arrangements, visitation schedules, holiday schedules, and any financial obligations.
4. Include a Parenting Plan: A parenting plan outlines how both parents will share responsibilities for raising their children, including decision-making, communication, discipline, and other important details. This plan helps ensure that both parties are on the same page regarding parenting their children.
5. Get Signatures: Once the agreement is drafted, both parties should sign it. Signatures from both parents confirm that both parties agree to and understand the terms of the agreement.
6. Get it Notarized: A notarization ensures that the agreement is legally binding. When a notary public signs the agreement, they will ensure that both parties signing the agreement are who they say they are and that they are signing the agreement voluntarily.
7. Submit to the Court: Finally, submit the agreement to the court for approval. In some cases, the court may require a hearing where both parties will present the agreement and explain why it`s in the child`s best interest.
In conclusion, making a custody agreement legal requires proper planning, drafting, and execution. Consulting with an attorney, getting signatures, notarizing the agreement, and submitting it to the court are critical steps to making a custody agreement legally binding and enforceable. By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth custody arrangement that will benefit your child`s well-being in the long term.