Whether you are a parent who is going through a divorce, or were not married and are separating from your partner, nothing is as important as the best interests of your children. When it comes to custody, there are many aspects of children’s lives that must be considered, beyond the day-to-day.
Barring serious issues such as abuse or addiction, it is usually in the best interests of the children to foster relationships with both of their parents. Coming to an agreement with the other parent concerning custody matters can help avoid lengthy, costly, and adversarial court proceedings. Rather than proceeding to trial, custody issues may be mediated to help avoid further deterioration of the parents’ relationship with each other and the children.
However, even if you have come to an agreement with the other parent concerning residential and legal custody, it can be easy to forget about the details. In addition to specifying how day-to-day decisions are made, a custody agreement can also include the following:
Holidays and Vacation Time
As these types of occasions may only come once a year, they can be easy to overlook when you’re thinking about custody arrangements. However, planning in advance where and with whom the children will spend holidays and school vacation time can help avoid conflicts over the matter later.
One of the most important details to consider in any custody arrangement is how the children will be transported to the other parent’s home, in addition to how they will get to and from school, as well as extracurricular activities.
It is a good idea to include a provision in your agreement and parenting plan concerning communications between parents, especially if the relationship is a contentious one. The mode and frequency of communication can be specified, such as whether it should be by text or verbal communication. Additionally, the agreement can also address that you should have reasonable access to communicate with your children when they are in the care of the other parent.
Medical Appointments and Decisions
Decision-making about what will happen in the event of an emergency, as well as the handling of routine medical, dental, and other health care appointments should be addressed ahead of time and clearly specified in a parenting plan. Medications, treatments, and any special needs your child has should also be taken into consideration.
School District and Relocation
There are many factors to consider when it comes to relocating with your children. Changing schools or moving to a new state or town can be a serious matter for a child. In addition to specifying the school that the children will attend, a custody agreement and parenting plan should include a clause concerning relocation, and what will happen in the event that one parent wishes to move outside a certain geographic boundary.
No Disparaging Remarks
Divorce and separation can be emotionally painful for all involved- especially children. When you’re going through a divorce or a conflict with a former partner, it is important not to let your children get caught in the middle of the dispute. This also means not speaking badly about the other parent in front of the children, or making any disparaging or negative remarks. Rather, the parents should strive to ensure that good relationships are maintained between their children and the other parent.
Contact a New York Family Law Attorney
The above are just a few aspects of a custody agreement and parenting plan that can be considered. Depending on the specific facts and circumstances concerning your family and your children, you may need to address other issues. A Family Law Attorney can help you identify any issues in your custody matter and guide you through the legal process.
If you are facing a New York divorce or family law issue, it is important to consult with an attorney who can advise you of your legal rights. The Law Office of Jessica M. Semins is available to represent clients throughout New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Staten Island; Long Island, including Nassau and Suffolk counties; and Westchester. Consultations are by appointment only and can be scheduled in Manhattan or Melville, Long Island. Call (646) 397-6844.
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