What to Discuss When Forming a Custody Agreement

As one of the stickier areas of divorce settlements, custody agreements often leave both parents fraught with worry. Ultimately, you're aiming to do what's best for any child involved. With the right family lawyer on your side, you can form an arrangement that works in their interests. Here are some arrangements you'll need to focus on.

Maintaining Meaningful Relationships

The primary objective of creating a custody agreement is to ensure the child maintains a meaningful relationship with both parents. This is something that the Family Law Act underpins. Sometimes, this doesn't always mean equally dividing the time the child spends between both parents. Doing so isn't always possible, particularly when it comes to securing the continuity of education. However, both parents should strive to ensure that the child has a consistent relationship with each party. A family law expert can help you secure such an agreement. 

Practical Challenges

It's often the case that custody arrangements can present practical challenges. For example, if one parent is moving to another area, it won't always be practical to secure a fifty-fifty split. When that's the case, the courts may move to have one parent care for the child during school periods and another during holidays. Courts may also look at factors such as how much support each parent has in their nearby area. This is particularly true of cases where the children are very young. Overall, the practical hurdles are viewed through the lens of determining what will work in the child's best interests.

Meeting the Child's Wishes

At a certain age, a child can express what they want from a custody arrangement. With the use of experts, you can employ age-appropriate techniques for determining what will make each child happy. During this process, the courts tend to assess the child's maturity level and their ability to understand what is happening. In many cases, taking the child's wishes into account is important for protecting their relationship with each parent. 

Protecting Against Harm

Unfortunately, it isn't always the case that direct contact with a parent is safe for the child. If you feel this applies in your situation, make your family lawyer aware as soon as possible. They can then work to convince the courts to protect your child against harm. The courts will assess whether a steady approach to custody while the other parent addresses their problems is appropriate. For example, they may recommend phone contact or supervised custody order.

For more information on family law, contact a lawyer near you.