Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

How custody agreements have changed (mostly for the better)

Years ago, custody arrangements between divorced couples pretty much looked alike from one family to the next. The divorced mom had primary custody (and all the headaches of raising children mostly alone). The divorced dad was relegated to seeing his kids only on a couple weeknights a month and alternate weekends and usually felt (rightfully) estranged from their daily lives.

It wasn't exactly a good situation for the kids, and parents weren't exactly enjoying the custody setup either. Maybe that's why modern custody agreements have evolved. No matter why it has changed, however, the one thing you can count on today in a divorce is that your custody agreement is probably not going to look anything like one of those custody agreements that existed in the past.

Today, the courts put a big emphasis on the idea that children deserve a relationship with both their parents -- even when those parents no longer want to be married. The commitment to your children outlasts the commitment to your marriage, always, and custody agreements today reflect that idea.

Couples who are willing to work together to craft their custody agreement see the most benefit out of the new way of thinking. Essentially, as long as a custody agreement is supportive of the children and their relationships with both parents, anything goes. Parents have worked out "nesting" agreements where they rotate in and out of the family home -- leaving their children to dwell in one location all the time. Other families work out custody that rotates weekly. Some parents divorce and simply move into different bedrooms while continuing to function as one parental unit for the kids.

Technology is also changing how divorced parents interact with their kids. Skype and other programs can allow parents nightly "virtual visitations" that allow an absent mom or dad to read their child a bedtime story from halfway across town -- or all the way across the country.

Are you trying to figure out what will work for your family after your divorce? Talk to an attorney with experience crafting effective, flexible child custody agreements about your options. You may be pleasantly surprised at how things have changed.

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