A typical child custody order addresses far more than just the visitation/custody schedule. Often, we get phones calls with specific concerns about considerations and when it comes to a child custody order or a child custody case. What we mean by this is, that there is much more to a child custody order than where the child lives, or how visitations are handled. Child custody orders can have a lot of information and a lot of parameters that are meant to dictate the behavior of both parents involved in the action.
What is a child custody order?
A child custody order is simply a court order that specifies and the physical and legal custody that both parents have over a child. Often, clients come to us and with a pre-set arrangement that parents have had for years that they came up with on their own, but got no court involve. That is all well and good, until it is not. Meaning, if the parents have a dispute or one of them changes their minds, they have no legal remedy to do anything about it.
Often, the disputes are over very small things such as, what to do about the child’s birthday or when the child can call a parent.
How do I get a child custody order?
The only way to get a child custody order is by filing a child custody action with the courts. A final order will be granted either at the end of a trial, or before a final custody trial by way of a consent order. In either case, a judge must sign the order.
There are many considerations in determining how custody is determined. We have written extensively on that topic in previous blogs.
What can I put in a child custody order?
Most importantly, the child custody order will address the physical and legal custody of the child, including custody and visitation schedules and specifics related to the schedule. Beyond this, child custody orders may address many other issues, including but not limited to the following:
- Non-disparagement (neither parent may make disparaging remarks about the other parent or the parents’ friends or family in the presence of the child)
- Holiday and visitation schedule
- Telephone access – specifics regarding when and how communication with the non-custodial parent should occur
- Who gets to make which important decisions
- Activities/extracurricular activities
- Any limitations regarding visitation (e.g., sleepovers with third party, vacations, etc.)
- Exchange of information (e.g., parents are required to communicate with each other about school, doctor’s visits, wellbeing of child, etc.)
- Drug or alcohol consumption limitation while exercising visitation or custody (if relevant)
- If and how supervision is to be scheduled
- Agreement to maintain suitable environment for child
If you have questions about child custody or another family law issue, you should speak with a family law attorney. Contact us at 980-272-8438 to schedule a consultation with an attorney.