When you and your spouse decide to divorce, one of the most difficult things is creating a custody arrangement. Custody battles can often be contentious. The majority of custody arrangements are judgments handed down by the court rather than agreements the spouses mutually agree on. If you’re negotiating a custody arrangement for your family, you might not be sure what sorts of terms you’re allowed to include.
The field of family law is incredibly complicated. Custody arrangements rarely involve a one-size-fits-all approach. Every family has unique circumstances that affect potential custody placements. Ultimately, the court’s job is to protect the child or children in question. The court must rule in favor of the child’s best interest, regardless of what the spouses may want.
One of the most important things is not to draft your custody arrangement alone. If your only experience practicing law is through watching movies and television shows, you won’t know where to begin. You may be surprised to learn that you have quite a bit of control over possible types of visitation. One of the questions you may ask yourself is whether supervised visitation is necessary. Supervised visitation is often contested, and it may be difficult to bring up.
The first thing to keep in mind is that any agreement made cooperatively will come with more leeway than a court ruling. Cooperative agreements are generally viewed with favor by the judge. When the spouses can work together, negotiating doesn’t take as much time. Custody rulings don’t always need to be issued by the court if both spouses are willing to work together. Alternative visitation and custody agreements might be created even if the court wouldn’t issue them.
One of the agreements you can make is for your spouse to have supervised visitation with your children. Ultimately, the court will need to approve this request. All child custody arrangements are reviewed by and finalized by the court. If both spouses agree that the best course of action is supervised visitation, the agreement will usually be approved.
Supervised visitation does have potential caveats to think about. The most pressing issue is that many people will not agree to supervised visitation unless a court order forces them. To have supervised visits, court personnel must be involved. The other spouse must also be amenable to complying with strict regulations. Most spouses don’t want supervised visitation with their children. Instead, they want to have unsupervised visits, as these involve much more freedom and much less hassle.
You should also be aware that any agreement you make, including one involving supervised visitation, might receive a court nullification later. This is especially likely to occur if your ex-spouse voices a reasonable objection at a future date. It’s important not to use supervised visitation as a punishment, particularly if joint custody or unsupervised visitation are reasonable options. Supervised visitation is an act that’s very restrictive. You must have good reasons for wanting it to be part of the custody arrangement. Prepare documentation to back up your case.
The last thing you should think about is your reasoning for wanting the supervised visitation. This visitation is imposed under special circumstances: the court believes that a parent deserves to be in contact with a child, but there’s also a belief that unsupervised contact with the child might become dangerous. Do you have a belief that your spouse poses a danger to your child? Is supervised visitation being considered for your child’s safety, or are you seeking it for other reasons? If you don’t believe your spouse is dangerous to your child, it may be a good idea to let the court decide the terms of the visitation.
You are able to ask for supervised visitation when you negotiate a custody agreement. However, you should keep in mind your reasons for doing so. If your spouse is amenable to the agreement, the court is likely to approve it. However, most spouses will fight this visitation due to its restrictive conditions. If your spouse challenges your request, you’ll need to provide documentation proving that supervised visitation is necessary. Nothing is set in stone until the final divorce decree has been signed. Supervised visitation should only be sought if you believe your spouse may endanger your child if visits occur unsupervised.
Negotiating a custody arrangement is the most difficult part of any divorce case. Ultimately, you have to make the decision that’s best for your child. It helps to get an experienced attorney who will help advocate for your point of view.
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