Custody Agreement or “Wing It”?

10 Dec

I have a dear friend who got a divorce about a year and a half ago, and by all accounts, it was one of the most amicable divorces on file. As part of keeping it amicable, they decided to “figure it out” when it came to visitation and custody. After all, they were still friends, and it shouldn’t be too hard to agree on who gets their son and when.

So far, it’s worked out. Except for a few bumps along the way (Christmas holiday travel, last-minute requests, grandparent visitation), their system has really worked. Which made me re-examine my previous theory that all divorced couples should have something in writing when it comes to visitation with their children.Divorce Tablet Means Custody Split Assets And Lawyers

However, I got to thinking about the future. Since both Mom and Dad are pretty young, I predict one or both will find a girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife sometime down the road.

And, if my experience as a Marriage and Family Therapist has anything to do with it, THAT’S when things get tricky.

What happens when new-husband wants to bring his new step-son to his family’s home for Thanksgiving? Or, when new-wife wants to whisk her new step-son off on an impromptu vacation? What if your son wants to hang out with his new step-brothers instead of going over to Dad’s house?

The fact is, when step-parents become involved, the dynamic tends to shift and, unfortunately, get more complicated. Add step-siblings, and things can get downright difficult.

The key is this: if you don’t have a custody agreement in place after a divorce, write one up AS SOON as the dynamic changes. That means before things get complicated!



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