How to Write Up Your Own Custody & Support Agreement

By Anna Green

Although the court can help parents reach consensus on child support and custody issues, reaching an agreement on your own can create an atmosphere of cooperation and save time and money. Each state has its own laws on child support and custody, and you must understand your jurisdiction’s guidelines before preparing any agreements. You can find sample agreements specific to your state by contacting the clerk of court or an online legal document service. Once you have prepared a mutually agreeable support and custody document, you will need to file it with the court. After you file it, the judge will review the document and enter an order reflecting the terms you and the other parent have agreed upon, unless she finds good cause to reject certain provisions.

Although the court can help parents reach consensus on child support and custody issues, reaching an agreement on your own can create an atmosphere of cooperation and save time and money. Each state has its own laws on child support and custody, and you must understand your jurisdiction’s guidelines before preparing any agreements. You can find sample agreements specific to your state by contacting the clerk of court or an online legal document service. Once you have prepared a mutually agreeable support and custody document, you will need to file it with the court. After you file it, the judge will review the document and enter an order reflecting the terms you and the other parent have agreed upon, unless she finds good cause to reject certain provisions.

Custody

Step 1

Describe the type of arrangement you and the other parent have agreed upon. Custody can be classified as joint or sole. Joint custody is shared by both parents, while sole custody means one parent is the custodian. Custody can be either physical or legal. Legal custody refers to the right of a parent to make decisions for his child while physical custody involves the daily care for the child. The custody agreement should state in detail what responsibilities each parent will have.

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Step 2

Justify any deviations from the state code. If you and the other parent agree to an arrangement that is not well-grounded in your state’s child custody or support guidelines, explain why you made this decision. If you do not explain your line of reasoning, the judge might be reluctant to approve your agreement.

Step 3

Provide a detailed visitation and parenting plan. This plan should include the child’s daily or weekly schedules and explain how you will handle parenting time during summers, holidays, school breaks and special events. Additionally, this plan should list where you will drop off and pick up the child after visits. If there are any parent-specific issues, such as a mother who often travels out of town for work, discuss how each party will handle custody exchanges during these situations.

Step 4

Use language that reflects your willingness to cooperate with the other parent. The custody and support agreement should be positive and indicate that both parties are willing to comply with the terms the document outlines.

Child Support

Step 1

List the amount the noncustodial parent will pay the custodial parent. Calculate this amount using the formulas specified in your state’s code. Additionally, specify the manner and time frame in which the noncustodial parent will make support payments, such as through the court’s registry.

Step 2

Outline non-monetary support. If one parent is offering non-monetary support, such as employer-supported health insurance or a private insurance policy, list this in the support documents.

Step 3

Discuss who will pay for special child-rearing costs. For example, state who will pay for the children’s education, extracurricular activities, childcare or exceptional medical or educational expenses.

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Child Custody & Visitation Laws for Missouri

References

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Facts on Child Support & Visitation Laws in Oklahoma

Oklahoma, like all states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in making custody and visitation determinations. However, this standard can be quite vague and lead to different results in similar cases depending on the judge, lawyers and other factors not related to a child's best interests. Consequently, Oklahoma has developed a set of visitation recommendations according to age and parental circumstances designed to help judges make uniform decisions that benefit children. Oklahoma also has standard rules for child support that make it easier for parents to calculate the child support they will likely pay.

Who Qualifies for Joint Custody of a Child?

When they realize divorce is imminent, many parents hope to have joint custody of the children. The term "joint custody" is more complicated than it seems on the surface, however. It can mean different things in different states, but more often than not, it refers to legal custody, which has no bearing on how much time your child spends with you. By any name, courts typically want some assurances before they order it that it’s going to work out. You'll probably have to ask for it in your divorce filings because judges are sometimes reluctant to order joint custody if parents have not expressed a desire for it, or if parent is adamantly opposed to it.

Basic Child Visitation Rights in Florida Laws

During the divorce, the court will allocate custody and visitation rights between you and your spouse. However, Florida no longer uses those terms. Instead, it describes the time parents spend with their children as time-sharing. For unmarried parents, these rights can be established by opening a custody case.

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