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Child Custody Papers

Child Custody Papers


The technicalities of the divorce process vary greatly from state to state. For that reason, it is impossible to generalize about the specific child custody papers spouses will need to submit with their petition for divorce. However, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.



In the most easily completed kind of divorce, two spouses cooperate from beginning to end of the legal process. This means that a written separation agreement must be submitted to a judge detailing all aspects of the spouses’ divorce. It is advisable that this agreement be completed in as much detail as possible. There are many blank templates that spouses can use online to draft a legally valid separation agreement. When considering issues that affect the couple’s minor children, the following are some of the things that should be detailed:



• How much time the child will spend with each parent (known as “physical custody”)



• Who will be responsible for making major decisions on the child’s behalf (known as “legal custody”)



• The visitation rights of non-custodial parents



• How transportation will be arranged for the child to travel between their parents



While this legally binding agreement creates the framework for separation, there are many child custody papers that will need to be submitted alongside. These forms should be available at the family district court your divorce is being processed by or on their website. In most cases, couples will need to submit the following separate child custody papers:



• A form outlining child custody arrangements



• A form outlining visitation procedures



• In many states, the father must submit a form attesting to their paternity in order to receive their full parental rights



These child custody papers do not require a lawyer to be understood. However, couples who cannot agree on all these issues may need to turn to an outside party for help. In nearly all states, if there is disagreement over issues which affect minor children, a judge will order the spouses to attend mediation sessions. This process allows for both parties to discuss their disagreements and goals in the presence of a neutral advisor who guides the discussion in a productive direction without taking sides or offering legal advice. Negotiations undertaken in good faith can help couples resolve how to fill out the appropriate child custody papers.



If no agreement can be reached between two parties over the terms of their separation, this is known as a contested divorce. This requires a spouse who has officially been served with a copy of the complaint against them to file an official response with the court. In this form, disagreement with the proposed child custody and visitation terms can be noted. Should these issues not be resolved, a contested divorce will be resolved by a judge. One or both spouses may wish to hire a lawyer to represent them in court if this happens, which will greatly add to the expense of the divorce.