Child Custody Agreements
When parents divorce, the challenges of raising children in separate households can be one of the more difficult aspects of the process. Putting aside the emotional turmoil caused when parents end their marriage, the practical, day-to-day, and week-to-week aspects of parenting separately but together need to be part of a thorough and well thought out plan.
When putting together a child custody agreement in a Colorado divorce, a couple will spend a great deal of time trying to reach agreement on a whole range of issues – pickups and drop-offs; where the kids will spend this holiday or that vacation; when support payments will be made.
But in focusing on these important but mainly logistical issues, parents may lose sight of or not even consider long-term, big-picture issues that can dramatically shape the child’s life and raise intense feelings between the parents.
Three Topics to Address with Your Child Custody Agreement in Colorado Springs
Making sure you cover all such bases in your child custody agreement is one of the key jobs of your child custody lawyer in Colorado Springs. He or she will go through all of the custody issues you need to address, and you will likely have at least one “I hadn’t thought of that” moment.
Obviously, if neither parent is particularly religious and isn’t likely to become so, the issue of what faith the child will be raised in, if any, is unlikely to be the subject of much discussion or conflict.
But for more religious parents, especially in inter-marriages involving two different faiths, the child’s religious upbringing can spark intense and conflicting emotions.
One parent may strenuously object to their child being raised in a faith that is not their own, while another parent may view their child’s religious training, education, or exposure to be central to the job of raising their child.
If religion is an issue, both parents should have a frank and open dialogue about their expectations for their child’s religious upbringing and find parameters that work for both of them. These parameters need to be clearly documented in the child custody agreement.
Homeschooling and Education
Similarly, if parents agree on where their child should attend elementary school or high school, the issue of the child’s education can be quickly resolved.
But one parent may want to homeschool the child, send them to a private or parochial school, or send them off to boarding school. Such a major decision requires that assent of both parents or else a judge will make the decision for them.
The child custody agreement should specify where the child will be attending a school or at the minimum limit or define the options for schooling.
Related article: Choosing a Child Support Attorney in Colorado Springs
Cell Phones, Internet, Computers and Apps
Many if not most parents today grew up before smartphones and the internet became crucial parts of everyday life. We didn't need to worry about limiting time on YouTube or Facebook.
Now, the decision as to when a child should get their own phone, or when and how they should have an online life are major parenting decisions.
Parents should agree on and document in the child custody agreement exactly when their child should be allowed to have a cell phone and put limits on how it is used (such as solely for emergencies or to call family).
The parents should also discuss what limits will be placed on the child’s internet and social media access. Given the potential dangers and inappropriate content readily available on the web, parents should agree on how the child’s online activities will be monitored to make sure they stay safe.
On these issues, as in all matters of potential dispute between parents, the goal is to reach an amicable resolution that will minimize potential conflict, clarify the parents’ rights and obligations, and set the groundwork for the child to have a happy and secure childhood.
As a top-rated Colorado Springs child support attorney and child custody lawyer, Bryson Perkins can provide you with both guidance and key insights for developing a child custody agreement that serves the best interests of everyone in the family.