When people imagine scenarios where they'd need a child custody attorney, they usually picture lots of fighting. Civilized co-parenting arrangements need legal structure just as much as major disputes do. Let's look at why this is and how a child custody lawyer can help.
Predicting the future is hard, and you don't want to make the mistake of assuming a rosy picture when it comes to child custody. What happens if both parents are incapacitated within a short period? It's an unlikely scenario, but the outcome could adversely affect your kid's life. If this does happen, you should have documents in place stating where custody goes if something happens to both parents.
Someone Wants To Move
One of the tougher child custody issues involves one parent moving. This doesn't have to be the parent who has primary physical custody. The law expects each parent to have access to the child, and moving can create a mess.
You want to have an arrangement in place that delineates how far either parent can move. This reduces the odds that one parent will interpret a move as an act of alienation, potentially avoiding legal fights down the road.
If something happens to your child, you want to know there's a legal framework in place to provide care, especially in an emergency. Some medical organizations and doctors will not take certain medical actions without explicit authorization. It's best to have this in writing so each parent can handle situations as they come up.
Custody and Visitation
You can't always have a perfectly structured visitation schedule. For example, people who work in the oil industry often work three weeks in the field and then get a week off. These folks will want to have arrangements that accommodate their unusual schedules.
Parents also frequently want special arrangements for the holidays. It's a good idea to set up a formal agreement outlining custody and visitation for these periods. If you want full days with your child, you may want an arrangement where you alternate holidays. For example, one parent gets Thanksgiving and the other gets Christmas one year, and then it flips the next.
Where a kid goes to school is as important as what they will learn. Especially if you're planning to send your child to a private school, it's a good idea to formalize who will make that choice in the custody documents.