When a couple with children divorces or separates, they must deal with the logistics involved in raising their kids. Keeping the best interest of the family first, parents must reach a compromise on how to take care of their children’s needs, whether through legal proceedings or informal negotiations. New Jersey parents who find themselves in this situation and are able to negotiate all the issues related to their children themselves or through out-of-court mediation might end up with a custody agreement that covers all the areas related to custody.
Once the agreement is made, it must be presented to the court for approval. Sometimes a judge asks the parents to an informal court hearing in order to ask them questions about the agreement and to ensure that both parties completely understand the custody agreement and freely entered into it. If the judge approves, the agreement becomes a decree, or binding court order, which should not be violated.
Custody agreements, also known as parenting agreements, detail all the areas that might affect how couples continue to raise their children after a separation or divorce. The areas typically covered in the agreement include details about physical and legal custody of the children, including decision-making responsibilities, visitation schedules, the division of holidays and vacations and even how the relationship with extended family will be handled. Normally, these agreements also include how to handle any disputes or modifications that might arise related to the agreement. Parenting agreements can be as detailed and specific as parents want to make them.
If a couple in New Jersey is considering divorcing or separating, they might negotiate the agreement themselves with assistance from family law attorneys. Judges will normally accept the agreement if it clearly shows that the best interest of the children were considered when the couple completed their negotiations.