By Adam T. Kronfeld of Duff & Kronfeld, P.C. posted in Family Law on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.
You and your spouse have separated and generally agree how you will share custody and visitation of your children. You (or your attorneys) have prepared a document intended to memorialize that agreement. It looks like it says everything you agreed to, but what are you missing?
The following is a list of questions that you may wish to consider in evaluating whether your written custody and visitation agreement adequately addresses some of the common situations that may arise with your children in the future:
1. Who is responsible for transporting the children when they are driving between their parents’ homes?
2. Can a step-parent or other family member drive the children from one home to another? Can they pick them up from school or other activities?
3. What happens if one parent needs or wants to relocate out of the area?
4. Can a parent take a child out of school for a vacation? For a special event?
5. When should a new romantic interest meet the children? When should a romantic interest be allowed to move in with a parent and the children or vice versa? Is it even a good idea to try to address that?
6. If we disagree about a medical, educational or religious issue, how can we resolve that disagreement?
7. Should one parent have the first right to take care of the children if the other cannot on their own custodial time? What should trigger that right?
8. How do we apportion vacation time in the summer?
9. Should parent get make-up time if they miss time with the children because the parent is sick or has to travel for work? Or because the children are sick and should stay in one place until they are healthy? Or because the children were snowed in with their other parent?
10. What if the children want a different visitation schedule? What if they refuse to visit with one parent? What if they refuse to leave to go back to their other parent?
It is impossible to plan for every contingency that might arise with your children and the other parent. However, you may wish to try planning ahead for some of the more common scenarios, or at least ask your attorney whether you can or should address them in your agreement. If you have questions like the above pertaining to your custody situation, please do not hesitate to contact an attorney at The Duff Law Firm, and we will gladly help you with them.