custody expert
custody expert
custody expertcustody expert custody expert
custody expert

by Dr. Reena Sommer

A child custody agreement is the framework upon which post divorce parenting is based. It is a very important document and one that needs a lot of consideration in drafting.

The basic components of a child custody agreement include:

  • legal custody
  • residency including provisions for geographic moves etc.
  • access periods for each parent including holidays and other special events and ocassions
  • decision making and responsibilities regarding education, health and religion
  • financial responsibilities in the form of child support and shared obligations

Shortcomings of Child Custody Agreements

One of the major shortcomings of most child custody agreements is that they generally don't take into account the changing needs of children. In fact, most child custody agreements are based on the ages and stage of development that children are at when the agreement is first drafted. Considering that children grow and mature, this does not make a lot of sense if a child is a toddler and the agreement is intended to be in place for the child until adulthood. The best child custody agreement is one that considers a child's changing needs based on his or her stage of development.

Another shortcoming of child custody agreements is that they emphasize the parents' needs and not the children's. Although the divorce courts are guided by the "best interests" of children, judges and divorce attorneys who know little about child development are not in a position to guide parents' decision making based on their children's needs.

Components of a "Child Focused"
Child Custody Agreement

A "child focused" child custody agreement should be built on the following premises:

  • children are entitled to have a relationship with both parents
  • children should not be disadvantaged by their parents' decision to end their relationship
  • parents should be the ones making the compromises and not their children

If parents are willing to keep these basic premises in mind when developing their child custody agreements, there is every reason to believe that they will be sound and focused on their children's needs.

Need More Information?

Everyone's concerns are unique. For that reason, Dr. Reena Sommer offers a brief "no obligation" telephone consultation. Please call her with your questions and concerns at 281.534.3923

custody expert
custody expert
Dr. Reena Sommer & Associates PLLC 蟀
Houston, Texas
PHONE: 281.534.3923