Posted on: 7 August 2018Share
Hashing out a child custody arrangement requires a lot of thought. Unfortunately, most divorcing couples tend to think of their feeling now instead of the child's needs for the future when creating the agreement. They also don't quite take all of the child's interests to heart when deciding when and where the child will go. It's understandable that you'd want your agreement to be finished so that the divorce is final, but take a little more time and consider the following.
Will the Pet Come Along?
You want your child to be with you on X day and on Y number of weekends per month. That sounds fine and dandy. But have you planned for the child's pet to come along, too? If your family currently has a pet, that might not be so bad; after all, the animal is familiar with you and will probably like seeing you. But if your ex-spouse and the child get a pet after the divorce, and the child becomes attached, will you allow the child to bring the pet along? That's neither a good nor bad thing -- but it is something you need to make clear now so no one ends up disappointed.
Growth and Change
Your current agreement might work well for your 6-year-old. But what happens when that 6-year-old becomes a 16-year-old? Your child might no longer want to visit you on certain weekends or may even want to change visitation schedules altogether. This could be very important if you live in an area where the teen won't be able to see friends that easily. If the teen has a girl- or boyfriend, you're likely to lose time with your teen to the phone and social media, too. How will that change the way all of you handle visitation?
Working Summer Jobs
Your teen is likely to have a summer job or attend some sort of summer school as the years go by. How will you change your visitation schedule to accommodate a retail job that requires a changing schedule and varied shifts? Be careful if your thoughts are to stop the teen from having a job. These summer and afterschool jobs are crucial for building good money skills and getting used to what working can be like. The same goes for summer workshops and summer school -- these are a part of the teen's learning experience.
Contact a divorce attorney, like Karen Robins Carnegie PLC, who has experience creating comprehensive and long-term child custody arrangements. It is OK to change the arrangement down the road if both parties agree, so it may help to set benchmarks, ages at which the two of you will renegotiate and take the child's activities into account.