There are a growing number of interracial, inter-cultural and/or interfaith relationships in today’s society which produces a diverse religious and cultural heritage for the children. However, when these interracial, inter-cultural or interfaith relationships end, each parent will likely want to continue to celebrate their respective traditions with their children. Consequently, child custody and visitation plans or agreements can rapidly become very complex.
Traditional custody/visitation plans typically spell out the more common issues such as who has the children for certain holidays. Today’s agreements, however, go far beyond just making arrangements for holidays and summer breaks.
Among the details that parents may want negotiate are what religion the children will practice and what denomination they will attend. Parents may also want to spell out who will pay for the bar and bat mitzvahs or first communions, and determine how many guests each parent will be allowed to invite.
Other topics that couples are building into custody and visitation agreements are private school and college goals, discipline and even healthcare provisions. Furthermore, agreements sometimes specify whether children will have pets, and what kind, and whether the pets will follow the children to the other parent’s home on visits.
Finally, if disputes do arise, many agreements require the parents to meet and confer about how to resolve them and to use alternative dispute resolution services such as mediation and arbitration before going back to court for relief.
By specifying so many details in their parenting plans/agreements, parents hope to add certainty to their children’s childhood and avoid conflict in the future.
If you are currently involved in a child custody dispute or would like more information on drafting a custody agreement, you should strongly consider speaking with an experienced legal professional.