When navigating child custody negotiations, it can become quite easy to focus on what exactly you want as a parent. But when the courts approve custody agreements based on the standard of what is best for the child, then it prompts a newfound focus on what would benefit your child. Our Bergen County child custody attorneys share some of our top considerations on how to make a child custody agreement in your child’s best interests.
When thinking about which home your child will spend most of their time in or where will be listed for educational purposes, consider the educational opportunities available for your child. You should ask the following questions:
- Does one parent live in a better school district?
- Will zoning change based on the parent with primary custody?
- Will they be leaving their friends?
- Does one school have programs that better suit your child?
With these questions in mind, you should then let those answers guide you as you make an informed decision on where your child should live most of the time. You can use your child’s educational needs with some of the following considerations to make final decisions for your child custody agreement.
If both you and your former spouse live in the same school district and zoning, then you will not need to ask these questions and instead will need to determine which home will be listed as a primary residence with the school.
Your Child’s Extracurriculars
When talking about your time-sharing and handoff, you should consider your child’s extracurricular activities when determining that time. If your child plays baseball all Saturday, then maybe don’t schedule handoff during a baseball game unless both parties can be with your child at the field. Your child’s extracurricular activities should not be halted because they may interfere with your personal lives as parents. Instead, you should coordinate and create a schedule that works with your child’s activities to ensure that they are not being taken out of an activity that they enjoy as a result of their child custody agreement and improper planning.
Opportunities for Growth
As your child grows, you should prepare them with opportunities to flourish. This may mean ensuring that your child is near their extended families or that they can pursue any new interests, like musical instruments, club or school sports, or Model UN. Preparing for your child’s future should be included in your current child custody plan to promote that your child will explore opportunities for personal growth.
Ensuring opportunities for growth also can relate to each parent when making these decisions. If both parents are looking for new homes, they do have the ability to move to a location where they can advance in their current jobs or find better employment opportunities. Relocations may need to be approved by the court to ensure that both parents can complete their ends of a child custody agreement.
Which Parent Can Physically be Present
If one parent travels often and may not be able to be physically present for their child, then this should be considered in the creation of the custody agreement. It would not make sense to give a parent who is unable to physically parent a majority of the time with the child. When determining time-sharing arrangements, you should take your work schedules into consideration to ensure that your children always have a parent available.
Lastly, when negotiating your child custody arrangements for your children, you should consider different time-sharing options. Don’t limit yourselves to one week on and one week off, but instead, consider what works best for all three schedules: your schedule, your former spouse’s schedule, and your child’s schedule. With these three schedules in mind, work together and build out a time-sharing schedule that works for all three of you.
If you and your former spouse are cordial, you may consider reasonable time-sharing, but if not, then a set schedule will be best for your family. Together, you should determine what would work best for your family and then create a solid plan so that your family can use it in the future.
Bergen County Child Custody Attorneys
Our child custody attorneys at Sherwood, Johnson & Poles are experienced to help you and your family, every step of the way in your child custody journey. We approach our cases in a caring manner so that you do not have to approach your family law matters alone.
Do you have questions about your child custody negotiations? Call our Bergen County child custody attorneys at (888) 224-1218 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with our team.