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Written by Bill Hunter, Hunter & Hein, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, 03/27/2017
* Please note that the following is a brief overview of a complex legal subject and is not meant to provide legal advice. When involved in a child custody dispute, it is important to consult with a family lawyer in your area who is familiar with your local rules and procedures. If your matter is located in Mecklenburg or Cabarrus counties, our Charlotte child custody lawyers can help. Contact us today at 704-412-1442 to speak to an attorney.
Child custody agreements and custody court orders are complex documents containing a number of provisions and terms regarding the rights and obligations of parties to a child custody dispute. Most custody agreements/orders will contain a number of provisions that relate specifically to the physical custody and visitation of the minor child involved. In addition to the visitation provisions, there are a number of miscellaneous provisions that may be included in child custody orders or agreements to address a range of items from communication to medical treatment. It is very important to remember that child custody agreements and orders are not “one-size fits all” and should be created specifically to meet the needs of the parties involved. Prior to including any provision in a child custody agreement or order, it is also important to fully understand the potential current and future ramifications the provision may have on the parties. Our child custody lawyers have pulled 20 provisions that we have commonly seen in child custody orders over the years:
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1. The parties shall have reasonable telephone contact with the minor child when they are with the other party. Each party shall be entitled to telephone contact with the minor child each evening. Any missed calls shall be returned in a timely manner. The minor child shall always be allowed to contact the other party when desired.
2. The party who has the minor child with him or her shall make the decisions for day-to-day matters. For matters of longer lasting consequence, such as surgery, other major health care decisions, religious training, educational institutions, special education programs or matters of similar significance, the parties shall, unless there is an emergency involving life or the physical safety of the minor child, consult each other on the decision to be made. If, after discussing any issue in good faith, the parties still cannot reach an agreement, the parties shall meet with a mediator to help make a decision if time reasonably permits.
3. The parties agree that Mother/Father’s address shall be the address used to determine which schools the minor child will attend.
4. Each of the parties shall have reasonable access to the minor child during the school day for lunch or other activities permitted by the school.
5. The minor child shall be entitled to call their mother or father at reasonable times and shall not be prevented from doing so by either parent. Both Father and Mother, within reason, shall be entitled to unfettered telephone, skype or facetime contact with the minor child when they are not residing with him or her and either parent may call the child on the other parent’s mobile telephone numbers.
6. Each of the parties shall at all times keep the other party advised as to his or her current residence address, mailing address (if different), email addresses, telephone number and business telephone(s), including written notification of any and all changes therein no later than 48 hours prior to the date and time any such change takes effect;
7. In the event that Mother or Father wishes to relocate with the minor child more than forty-five (45) minutes away from the other party’s residence, said party shall, as soon as possible, notify the other party of his or her intentions in writing and will not relocate until a new visitation agreement is negotiated and signed by the parties or is ordered by a court of law. The parties agree that once written notification is given, they shall, in good faith, actively participate in negotiating a new visitation arrangement. In the event the parties cannot agree, either party may seek a change in the visitation portion of this Agreement with the assistance of legal counsel or by initiating an action of child custody in county district court.
8. Each party will act in every respect so as to nurture and encourage the respect and affection of the minor child for each of their parents. Neither party shall disparage the other party, or the other party’s family members, in the presence or hearing of the minor child, or do anything the reasonable effect of which would be to estrange the minor child from the other party hereto, nor shall the parties allow the minor child to remain in the company of others doing the same.
9. Neither party shall schedule extracurricular activities for the minor child to participate during the other party's period of physical custody without the other party’s permission. Each party shall be listed as an emergency contact for all extracurricular activities which the minor child participates. In addition, when it is agreed that a proposed activity is appropriate for the minor child, the cost of the activity shall be shared equally by Father and Mother.Type your paragraph here.
Have additional questions or need help with a child custody matter based in Mecklenburg or Cabarrus counties, including the cities of Charlotte, Concord, Harrisburg, Mint Hill, Matthews, Davidson, Huntersville, Davidson, and Kannapolis? Our Charlotte based child custody lawyers are prepared to help with all aspects of child custody disputes, including: drafting agreements and consent orders; assisting with child custody negotiations; filing complaints, motions, and other pleadings; and litigating child custody matters in court. Call us today at 704-412-1442 to speak to one of our attorneys, or complete the contact form on this page and one of our child custody lawyers will contact you shortly.
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10. Each party shall have the right to direct and complete access to all school records and information, and all medical, dental, psychological records and other records affecting health, development and welfare of the minor child. Each party shall have the right to participate in school conferences, events and activities and the right to consult with teachers, school personnel, medical and health care providers, psychologists and other counselors who are working with the minor child. Each party shall be listed as an emergency contact for all schools and health care facilities where the minor child is enrolled or shall be admitted. In the event it is necessary for one party to sign a waiver or other documents to allow the other parent to access the child’s school records, that party shall sign any such required waiver or other document.
11. The parties shall promptly inform the other party of any serious illness and/or injury to the minor child that requires medical attention. Both parties shall provide each other with any medications that the minor child are taking at the time of the exchange for visitation. Both parties shall provide each other with sufficient information to allow the other party to obtain refills of that medication. Both parties shall provide information to the other party regarding names, addresses, telephone numbers and other necessary facts concerning the providers of any medical or health care to the minor child. In the event it is necessary for one party to sign a waiver or other documents to allow the other parent to access the child’s medical or dental records, that party shall sign any such required waiver or other document.
12. The parties agree that neither party shall leave the minor child unsupervised and shall notify the other party of the name and cell phone number of any person other than a parent caring for the minor child.
13. The parties agree that no later than 48 hours prior to the date and time either party is due to travel away from his or her home overnight with the minor child, the traveling party shall provide the other party an itinerary of the minor child’s whereabouts on what dates and contact phone numbers throughout the traveling period. If the traveling party is staying at a hotel, motel, or similar establishment, he or she shall provide the name of such accommodation to the other party.
14. Both parents shall be under an affirmative obligation to maintain a safe, moral, suitable and proper environment for the minor child at such times as the child is in the physical custody of the parent. Neither parent shall use or consume any illegally controlled substance while the minor child is in his or her care and custody, nor shall they misuse any prescription medication while the child is in his or her care. Neither party shall drink alcohol to excess while the minor child is in his or her care and custody.
15. The parents stipulate and agree that visitation with the minor child by extended family members will not be unreasonably withheld or denied and will, in fact, be encouraged. However, nothing contained herein is intended to convey standing, upon any such individuals, when it would otherwise not exist. The term “extended family members” is intended to include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins whether by blood or from prior relationships.
16. No discipline shall be imposed by either parent which carries over to the child’s time with the other parent unless the parties have discussed the matter and agreed before the discipline is invoked. The parties shall remain the primary disciplinarians in the event that either or both remarry and/or cohabit with a romantic interest, fiancé, or spouse.
17. The minor child will always be told and know that Mother and Father are the child’s parents, regardless of any attachment to a parent’s new romantic interest, fiancé, or spouse. Neither parent shall ever encourage the child to address a romantic interest, fiancé, or spouse as “Mom,” “Mommy,” “Dad,” “Daddy,” or any similar terms.
18. The non-custodial parent shall always have the first right of refusal to provide care for the minor child whenever the custodial parent needs to place the child with a caretaker or babysitter for more than three (3) hours at any one time. In the event that the non-custodial parent refuses or is unable to take custody pursuant to section (m) above, the custodial parent shall, upon request, communicate with the non-custodial parent the caretaker’s name, phone number, and address of minor child’s location, along with the intended duration of the stay.
19. Neither party shall introduce the minor child to a new romantic interest for a minimum of 6 months following the entry of this order. The parties agree that the minor child need time to become acclimated to the separation of the parties. After that time the parties are allowed to introduce any new romantic interest to the parties after he or she has been in an exclusive relationship with that person for at least 6 months and has notified the other party of his or her intent.
20. Neither party shall discuss this case, any legal proceeding between the parties nor any issues of Child Support, Spousal Support or property distribution with either the minor child or in the presence of the minor child.