Including Personal Provisions in Child Custody & Support Agreements

Don’t want your former spouse smoking around your children when they are in his/her care? Committed to homeschooling? Raising your children on a vegetarian diet?

If you are considering mediation as a way to reach a resolution in your child custody or child support matter, whether it is part of your divorce settlement, or a separate matter brought up outside of divorce, one of the key benefits of negotiating with your spouse over child custody and child support is mediation’s ability to create a truly custom agreement.

Some of the terms parents have listed as “musts” for custody or support agreements? Here are a few of the many items parents have successfully requested:

1. While the child is a minor, no piercings or tattoos without both parents’ consent.

2. Any future legal costs incurred on behalf of the minor child, including bail and lawyer costs, must be split by both parents.

3. Requests to split the costs of contact lenses and braces for a minor child, if not covered by health insurance. Putting it writing can be a way to head off any arguments that these types of items are cosmetic/unnecessary for health.

4. No smoking inside/in car/around children; no exposure to secondhand smoke in the home.

5. No drinking to the point of intoxication on the part of either parent when in the presence of the child; not appearing in an intoxicated state around the child. This can be issue, even during supervised visits, if one parent if affected by alcoholism.

6. Splitting the costs of buying a car for the child.

7. Requiring special diet restrictions to be followed wherever the child resides, including kosher, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free and other diets for food allergies.

8. Restrictions on screen time, including time spent watching TV or playing on the computer regardless of which parent the child is spending time with.

9. Splitting the cost of a smart phone and smart phone plan, including texting. Or likewise, placing a ban on texting.

10. Requests for maintaining restrictions on clothing choices for boys or girls wherever the child resides. Parents may agree to no baggy pants or “low riding” jeans for boys, no midriff tops for girls, etc. This dress code is then written into custody agreement.

Do these sound over the top — or do they make sense? Did you make any special requests? Did your spouse?