Throughout the years child custody details have changed

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Sunday, September 27, 2015.

When couples who have children together decide to split, there are many matters that need to be addressed. As atittudes toward parenting have changed throughout the years, so too have the contents of separation agreements where children are concerned.

Overall, fathers now play a much bigger role in the lives of their children than in previous generations. While there is no question that this is good for the kids, it could prove to be a difficult transition for couples emerging from traditional relationships if, prior to the split, the mothers served as primary caretakers of the children.

These feelings could lead to other results as well. In some situations this reality could lead to the creation of separation agreements that are very specific to try to control the lives of the children even when the mother is not there. Whether this is the reason or not, generally, the agreements are more specific these days, than they were in previous generations.

Among other things, separation agreements these days sometimes include terms regarding:

  • How much time the children should spend doing homework
  • When or not they get to eat fast-food
  • How late a child gets to stay up
  • Who is able to provide third party child care
  • Prohibitions on being exposed to 2nd hand smoke (of any kind)
  • Whether new partners can pick up a child from school or day care
  • Whether one parent can enroll the child in extra-curricular activities, and the nature of those activities

This adds considerably to the complexity of agreements which in the past often contained little more than terms of child support and weekend access by the father.

Failure to handle these matters in a constructive manner when nogotiating an agreement can be detrimental to all involved. When there is tension between parents children usually end up suffering the most. In addition, fighting about these matters can end up costing a lot of money that could be spent on the kids or other things to make life better. Working with the right lawyer will keep the focus on what is best of the children and keep emotions and legal fees in check.

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