Creating a Custody Agreement

Remember, when writing a custody agreement, the only thing you can do when your ex-partner doesn’t follow the agreement is to take them to court for contempt.  Even if you have provisions for violations written into the agreement, you’ll still end up going to court in order to have them implemented.  You really should be prepared to fight, at the appropriate time, for anything that you decide to put into a custody agreement.

Here, we’ll discuss a few of the most common types of custody arrangements, focusing primarily on shared-custody (50/50), but also discussing situations where 50/50 (or close to it) isn’t possible for any number of circumstances.  Remember, your goal needs to be to maximize the amount of child custody you get.  You have to be a willing, able, and a fit parent.  It must also be logistically possible.

When you’re creating a custody agreement, the first order of business is going to be determining the “base schedule.”  It is the foundation for most everything else that will be contained within the document.  Here we’ll discuss three: (2) typical 50/50 shared-parenting options, and (1) typical custodial/non-custodial arrangement.  Remember, there are probably an infinite number of ways to set-up a custody agreement, so in order to best work within your circumstances, please visit the forums and/or email us and we can get to work!

“Week-On/Week Off” or 7/7

This is your fairly standard, self-explanatory shared-parenting plan.  As with any 50/50 custody arrangement, it requires that  both parents live reasonably close to one another.  “Reasonable” does not mean on the same block or even just around the corner.  Reasonable could be 30-minutes away, provided the children won’t suffer any outrageously cumbersome circumstances getting to places, most specifically – school!

The 5/2/2/5 Arrangement

Gaining in popularity is the 5/2 2/5 shared-parenting arrangement, another 50/50 option.  It is also a stable and predictable schedule that ensures no more than 5-days will ever go by without seeing the children.  One parent will typically take each Monday and Tuesday while the other takes each Wednesday and Thursday.  Beyond that, each parent will have every other weekend which will either be Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to one parent followed by Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday to the other.  The children always know where they are that day and there are fewer transitions.

The “Classic” Primary/Secondary Arrangement

Your circumstances may not reasonably allow for a 50/50 custody arrangement and you may be facing a situation where you have the classic case where one parent (oftentimes the father) has every-other-weekend with the children and a weekday “dinner visit” with the child during the school year.  During the summer, there are an infinite number of ways the non-custodial parent can arrange for extra time.

It’s important to keep in mind that these are simply not the only arrangements that can be made.  However, you’ll either work to get 50/50 shared-parenting, of which we here at Mr. Custody Coach are proponents, or you will have a primary custodian and secondary custodian plan of some sort.

There is also an option called “nesting.” While an interesting concept, it is not one even remotely likely to work in a high-conflict situation as there is too much opportunity for problems.  This arrangement is used by parents with the utmost focus on minimizing upset for the children.  It can also be a tremendous money saver for both parents.  The children can always be in their own rooms, in their own neighborhood, and remain close with established friends and neighbors.  In this scenario the two parents move into and out of the single home during their custodial time with the children.  The parent’s secondary residence(s) can then be something small and simple that need not be spacious enough to accommodate children.   Needless to say, this type of arrangement requires two tremendously cooperative parents who will have respect for one another’s personal possessions and privacy.  That’s not likely to happen if you are here because of a high conflict ex.


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