Colorado parents who are getting a divorce might want to try to avoid going through an adversarial battle over child custody in court. They may want to try to create a child custody agreement themselves instead. Parents who are struggling to come to an agreement might still be able to do so if they use an alternative dispute resolution method, such as arbitration or mediation.
In order to create a child custody agreement, parents should make sure they are well-acquainted with state law regarding custody and child support. Parents first need to determine whether they will share legal and physical custody. Legal custody is about who has the right to make major decisions about such issues as the child’s health care, education or religion. Physical custody is about where the child will live. Parents may share legal custody even if they do not share physical custody.
Parents need to be as specific as possible about the schedule. They should include an agreement for how pickups and dropoffs will be handled as well as what will happen on holidays or at times when the child is out of school. The agreement should specify how any changes in the scheduling as well as changes in the overall custody plan will be handled.
One advantage of making an agreement without going to court is that parents might be able to come up with a creative agreement for sharing parenting time that suits them and their children. Courts attempt to make a custody schedule that is in the best interests of the child, and they may take the child’s own preferences into account as well as many other factors. However, parents may be more satisfied with a custody schedule as well as a plan for property division that they create outside of court.