If you had to keep your child support and custody issues out of the courts, it could really save you a lot of time and money while creating an environment for open communication with your former partner. Every state will have its own child support and custody laws, so it is wise to get an understanding of what is needed by your jurisdiction before preparing documents for child custody and support.
It is easy to find state-specific sample agreements for legal custody if you contact a court clerk or visit an online legal document service. When you have put together a mutually agreed upon support and custody document, it is ready to be filed with the court. After filing, a judge will review it and dispense an order that reflects the legal custody of the child based on what you and your partner have filed, unless there are other legal loopholes and issues.
Step 1: Decide on the type of arrangement
Choose whether you are filing or joint custody or sole custody. Joint custody would mean that custody is shared by both parents, while sole custody is custody with one parent. Custody can also be physical or legal. Physical custody means that the parent is responsible for the everyday care of the child while legal custody means that the parent has a right to make decisions for the child. The custody agreement will also provide a detailed list of parental responsibilities for both parties.
Step 2: Explain any exceptions
If you are deviating from the state code, be sure to provide the justification for the decision. If you cannot defend your reasoning, a judge might not rule in your favor.
Step 3: Provide a full visitation and parenting plan
Explain your child’s daily/weekly routine in detail, including how you will share parenting time during vacations, parental work commitments and special events. This plan should also contain details of the location where the child will be dropped off after visits.
Step 4: Use cooperative language
While divorce or separation can cause feelings of bitterness, ensure that you sort these issues out before creating a custody document. A custody and support document must convince the judge that you are willing to work with your partner in the best interests of your child.
Step 1: List the amount the noncustodial parent will pay the custodial parent
Calculate this amount based on your state’s code. Also, specify the method and period in which the noncustodial parent will make support payments, like through the court’s registry.
Step 2: Summarize non-monetary support
If one parent is offering non-monetary support, such as a health insurance policy through their employer or a part of their inheritance, list this in the support documents.
Step 3: Talk over who will pay for special child-rearing expenses
For example, list who will pay for the children’s education, extracurricular activities, day-care or specialized medical expenses.