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A Workable Child Custody & Visitation Agreement Example
Jan L. Warner
This material was developed with experienced family lawyers to give you basic information that is not intended either as a substitute for advice from an attorney or as an attempt to answer all questions about situations you may encounter, but to give you ideas about how to begin to solve custodial problems. Because all situations are different, because the law of each state varies, and because you may have questions that are not covered in this material, we urge you not to rely on this material as legal advice and not to make decisions without the advice of a competent family lawyer whom you should consult for appropriate advice about your specific legal problems. This material is provided as is, without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.
©1996-2003, FlyingSolo®, Life Management®, Post Office Box 11704, Columbia, South Carolina 29211. All rights reserved.
CHILD CUSTODY/VISITATION CLAUSES
The parties agree that Mother shall be and is hereby vested with the permanent care, custody and control of the children of this marriage. The children shall primarily reside in the home of Mother. Mother and Father agree, however, that Father shall have reasonable access to the children, it being the general philosophy of both Mother and Father that contact by both of them with the children is in the their best interests and consistent with their continuing welfare.
Visitation: Father shall have the following reasonable off-premises visitation with the children while all parties reside in Sumter, South Carolina:
Alternating Weekends: Father shall have visitation with the children every other weekend from Friday evening at 5:00 P.M. and continuing until 6:00 P.M. on the following Sunday evening. In the event the children have the preceding Friday and/or following Monday off from school during those weekends, the weekend shall commence on Thursday evening or end on Monday evening, as may be applicable. This alternating weekend visitation shall commence with the weekend of May 24, 2003.
Weeknights: Father shall be allowed to visit with the children (or any number of them as are available) for supper one weekday evening per week when the children do not have conflicting and pre-arranged extracurricular activities. Father shall be responsible for assisting with any homework during his weekday visitation. Father shall give Mother two (2) days advance notice of his intent to exercise this weekday visitation or otherwise if the parties agree.
Attendance at Activities: Both parents are encouraged to attend and participate in the extracurricular activities of the children to the extent reasonable and appropriate. Immediately upon receipt of practice and/or game schedules and other scheduled activities (including, but not limited to, sports banquets and award ceremonies and other such functions) Mother shall forward a copy of same to Father via mail.
Easter/Spring Break Holidays: During all Spring Break school holidays which generally will be about Easter, the parties agree that the children shall spend an equal amount of time with their parents (i.e., the children shall be with Mother approximately one-half of the time and with Father approximately one-half of the time). Mother shall have the half of Spring Break which includes Easter weekend during even-numbered years, commencing with the year 2002, and Father shall have the half of Spring Break which includes Easter weekend during odd-numbered years, commencing with the year 2003.
Thanksgiving Holidays: The Thanksgiving holiday shall be alternated annually, with Father having even-numbered years and Mother having odd-numbered years. The Thanksgiving holiday shall run from Wednesday immediately prior to Thanksgiving at 12:00 noon, until Sunday following Thanksgiving at 6:00 P.M.
Christmas Holidays: During all even-numbered years the children shall be with Mother from 12:00 Noon on the children's last day of school prior to the commencement of the Christmas vacation and continuing until 2:00 P.M. on December 26th; and shall be with Father from 2:00 P.M. on December 26th until 6:00 P.M. on the day before the children return to school at the conclusion of the their school Christmas vacation. The schedule shall be reversed in odd-numbered years.
Mother's Day and Father's Day: On Mother's Day of each year, the children shall remain with Mother during the full Mother's Day weekend; and on Father's Day of each year, the children shall spend the full Father's Day weekend with Father. These weekends are hereby defined to run from Friday at 5:00 P.M. until Sunday at 6:00 P.M.
Extended Summertime Visitation: Father shall be entitled to extended summer visitation for two (2) ten (10) day segments of time to be exercised ten (10) days in June and ten (10) days in August, to be exercised to the exclusion of one (1) alternating weekend visit for those months. The remaining weekends of visitation shall be long weekends (i.e Friday until Monday or Thursday until Sunday). The children's summer camps and other pre-planned activities such as trips to California shall be arranged prior to May 1st of each year, to the extent possible to do so. Mother and Father shall then confer in good faith by May 1st to arrange the summer visitation schedule. Mother and Father shall endeavor to schedule the summer such that the children continue to attend the camps and other activities normally scheduled during the summer and shall attempt to schedule the balance of the summer such that each parent has exclusive time with the children, particularly when Mother and Father take vacations. Absent agreement, Father may exercise his June ten (10) day segment during the ten (10) days immediately preceding the children's camp (if they attend).
Children's Birthdays: Both parents shall have reasonable access to the children on their birthdays.
Other Visitation: Father shall have such other and further visitation as may be from time to time agreed to between the parties. Any such additional visitation must be discussed between and agreed to by Mother and Father prior to such visitation being in any way discussed with the children. It is contemplated that schedules permitting, Father requests additional overnight visits from time-to-time and consent shall not be unreasonably withheld.
Supervision: At all times, and particularly during the summer months when the children are out of school, both parents shall assure that the children are properly supervised.
Special Occasions: Both parties agree to in good faith consider alternating the normal scheduling to accommodate special occasions such as family reunions, employment obligations, conflicts in the children's activities, and other similar situations. The parties shall, however, make every reasonable effort to conduct themselves in a reliable and regular fashion when dealing with scheduling of visitation with the children.
Transportation: Father shall be responsible for the transportation of the children to and from Mother's home for visitation purposes while both parties continue to reside in Sumter, South Carolina, but this provision shall not preclude a child of driving age from transporting the children to and from visitation whenever appropriate and when the parties mutually agree.
Other Matters Concerning the Children:
Access to Information Concerning the Children: The Mother and Father shall both be entitled to full information pertaining to the health and education of the children on a timely basis. The parties shall promptly notify each other in the event of serious illness of or injury to the children. The phrase "serious illness or injury" herein shall mean any illness or injury which confines a child to bed for more than two (2) days or otherwise significantly interferes with her education, social relationships or individual welfare. Both parents shall provide each other with reasonable notice of any significant functions or extracurricular activities in which the children participate, to include church, school, social or outside activities which he or she might wish to attend. If not provided directly by the school, the parent receiving the children's report cards shall provide to the other parent copies of each of the children's report cards for every report period, including interim report cards. Both parents shall have the right to be notified by the school of any parent/teacher conferences so that both parents can attend. Both parents shall be placed on the school, church, medical, and extracurricular activity mailing lists.
Moral Environment: Both parents shall provide the children with a proper and moral environment. Neither parent will have an overnight guest of the opposite sex to whom that parent is not related by blood or marriage while the children are present. Neither parent shall consume excessive amounts of alcohol in the presence of the children, nor shall use of illegal drugs be allowed or tolerated in any way.
Disruption of Children's Schedules: Both parents acknowledge and agree that, despite the fact that they are involved in divorce litigation and may ultimately be divorced, it is their intent and hope that the lives of the children will be disrupted as little as possible, while at the same time, insuring continuity of the children's relationships with both parents. The parties also acknowledge that the children have educational responsibilities and have been historically involved in many activities which, given the fact that there are three (3) children, presents continuing and ongoing scheduling difficulties. Both parents acknowledge their intent that the children continue in their respective educational and extracurricular activity endeavors to the greatest degree possible while, at the same time, insuring continuity of the children's relationships with both parents. The parties also acknowledge and agree in principle that, while Father is living away from the family, it will be more difficult to coordinate his time with the children but acknowledge that his time is important and should be coordinated. Both parties shall endeavor to see to it that Father is notified in writing of the children's educational activity schedules. To the extent that it is appropriated and feasible, while continuing the children's relationships with both parents, the children's educational and activity schedules shall be disrupted to the least extent possible. The parties acknowledge, however, that there will be some disruption of the children's educational and activity schedules due to conflicts that will be inevitable. Neither party shall deliberately plan an activity which will interfere with the time of the other with the children -- however, this does not mean that activities will not occur during the time the other parent is scheduled to be with the children -- only that both parents will attempt to work together to coordinate these schedules so that the children suffer the least adverse impact.
Disparagement: Mother and Father shall encourage the children to love, respect and honor the other parent and the other parent's family and neither of them shall alienate or attempt to alienate or diminish the affections of the children from the other parent, or disparage or allow others to disparage the other parent in the presence of the children. Both parents shall promote a healthy and ongoing relationship between the children and both of their extended families. The children shall not be involved in or exposed to any animosities that may exist between the parents, or involving their respective families, friends or other parents.
Parental Designations: The parties shall see to it that the designations of "Father" and "Mother", or their equivalents, are used by the children only to refer to the parties hereto, and not to other persons. Neither party shall allow any third parties to use such designations when referring to the relationship between the children and any third parties.
Parental Communication: At all times hereafter, Mother and Father shall keep each other informed of their respective business and home telephone numbers, and their respective street and mailing addresses. Both Mother and Father shall make themselves available for direct communication with the other for the purpose of discussions pertaining to the children; provided, however, neither parent will harass or unduly burden the other with excessive or abusive telephone calls or any other such nonproductive communication.
Telephone Access and Computer Access: Mother and Father shall each have reasonable, private telephone and computer video access to the children while in the physical custody of the other parent. The children shall also have reasonable private telephone access to both parents at all reasonable times and places.
Mediation: Should disputes arise in the future involving visitation under this Agreement, the parents agree to use the mediation process prior to filing suit in the Family Court.
Relocation: In the event either parent intends to relocate his or her present residence outside the state of residence, the relocating parent shall give the other parent not less than 90 days advance written notice of the intended move. Both parties acknowledge that the law of the state of residence governs who bears the burden to allow relocation should Mother and Father not agree.
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