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What to Include in a Child Custody Agreement

Thu 29th Feb, 2024 Family Law

Very few divorces can be characterized as “simple,” but divorcing with children is most certainly more complex than divorcing without children. Because both parents are responsible for the health, safety, and wellbeing of the child, both are required to provide child support in one form or another. Negotiations concerning child custody and visitation can also quickly become thorny. However, one of the best ways to stop problems before they start is to draft a comprehensive child custody agreement with help from an attorney at our Stockton child custody law firm.  

Schedule and Visitation 

Divorced parents have a lot of options when it comes to crafting custody and visitation schedules. Many parents choose 50-50 schedules, which themselves have considerable variation. For example, in some 50-50 plans, the child alternates the weeks they spend with each parent, while in others, the child alternates various days with each parent. Other options include 60-40 schedules and long-distance parenting plans. 

Vacations, Holidays, and Travel  

When crafting a custody schedule, be sure to make provisions for how and where the children will spend vacations and holidays, as well as how travel is to be handled. For example, with 50-50 plans, the parents frequently alternate major holidays with the children each year. Many child custody agreements also place limits on travel and require a certain amount of notice to be provided to the other parent before traveling (especially for long-term travel and relocation). 

Transportation and Exchanges 

The nitty-gritty details of exchanging children between parents may seem too minor to include in a child custody agreement, but failing to plan for the details in advance can result in big blowups later. Child custody agreements should contain provisions related to the mechanics of transporting and exchanging children, such as what days the children are to be exchanged, where the exchange is to occur, and which parent is to handle transporting the children to and from the agreed-upon exchange location(s). 

Education, Religion, and Healthcare 

Education, religion, and healthcare are critically important in childrearing and can often become major sticking points for parents. In situations where the parents are not of the same mind on these issues, they must compromise, and those compromises must be memorialized in their child custody agreement. Education, religion, and healthcare provisions could include, for example, where the children are to attend school, how health insurance is to be handled for the children, and which faith the children will be taught (if any).  


Parents frequently disagree as to whether and how their children should be disciplined. Different rules in different households can often cause “culture shock” for children if one parent is notably more permissive than the other. To avoid such outcomes, parents should agree on basic rules of the road, such as curfews, phone and internet usage, and whether corporal punishment is to be used. 

Craft a Custody Agreement That Works for Your Family With Help From Our Stockton Child Custody Law Firm  

The best child custody agreement is the one that is tailored to your family’s specific needs. To get started on crafting a child custody agreement that works for you, please contact an attorney at the Stockton child custody law firm of McKinley, Conger, Jolley & Galarneau by using our online form or calling us at 209-477-8171.

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