Agreement for Shared Custody


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									This agreement is for shared custody of a child or children between parents going
through a divorce. It contains information such as the custody arrangement, visitation
schedule, the right to make decisions regarding the child's medical care and education,
and any child support obligations. This agreement can be customized to fit the specific
needs of the divorcing parents to act in the best interests of their child or children. This
document is useful to parents during a marriage dissolution that agree to shared
custody of their children.
                                AGREEMENT FOR SHARED CUSTODY

      Petitioner, _________ [Instruction: Insert petitioner’s name.], and Respondent
_________ [Instruction: Insert respondent’s name.] are in the process of dissolving their
marriage. In an attempt to provide for the best interest of their minor children, _________
[Instruction: Insert children’s names and ages.] (the “Children”) the parties mutually and
voluntarily enter into the following agreement:

1.     We believe that both of us are fit and proper parents to be awarded legal custody of the


  1. The parties are both fit and proper persons to have the care, custody and control of the

[Instruction: Choose one of the above #1, delete inapplicable.]

2.     We agree to advance the welfare and the best interests of the Children. We realize that our
       divorce may be a painful and traumatic event for them. We wish to try to reduce the trauma
       by demonstrating our continuing desire and ability to co-parent. We agree not to undermine
       the respect and affection the Children have for the other parent.

3.     We believe it is in the Children's best interests for us to share the physical and legal
       custody of the Children.


   3. Considering the best interests of the Children, we agree to rest the physical and residential
care of the minor children with _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] with parental access
and parental rights in _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] as specified in this document.
[Instruction: Choose one of the above #3, delete inapplicable.]

4.     To provide for continuity during the school year, since _________ [Instruction: Specify
       parent.] intends to be living outside of the city limits, the residence of the Children shall
       be with _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] from one week before the beginning of
       school until one week after school (and for purposes of this Agreement, the determination
       of the beginning and ending dates of the school year shall be that of the school district and
       neither parent shall be deemed to have responsibility or liability for such calendar) has
       terminated. _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] will have the primary day-to-day
       responsibility for the guidance and upbringing of the Children during the school year.
       [Comment: A sentence should be included stating who will transport Children at
       beginning/end of school year term to the other parent’s house, and who will pay for
       such transportation.]

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5.     The residence of the Children shall be with _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.]
       during the summer months from one week after school is out until one week before school
       begins. _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] shall have the primary day-to-day
       responsibility for the guidance and upbringing of the Children during that period.

6.     During the time that the Children's residence is with one parent, the other parent shall have
       the Children for one overnight every weekend and during the week as the Children's
       schedules allow. During such overnights which occur during the school year, the parent
       having overnight custody shall be responsible for the guidance and upbringing of the
       Children during that time, including but not limited to, transporting the Children to school
       and any school related events, and assisting with and ensuring completion of homework, as

7.     [Optional: The parties can set forth here the visitation schedule for holidays, including
       federal and religious holidays, children’s and parent’s birthdays, Mother’s and
       Father’s Day. If inserting this, may also want to include the following additional
       sentences: Special days and holidays shall prevail over regular custodial periods.
       With respect to all holidays and special days, including children's birthdays and
       parent's birthdays, the parent having custody of the Children shall make known to
       the other parent a time and telephone number where the Children can be reached for
       telephone communication, and such custodial parent shall not prohibit the non-
       custodial parent from such telephone communication with the Children.]

8.     We both have the right to make major decisions affecting the Children, including but not
       limited to: authorization for major medical or psychiatric care; educational placement; and
       religious training. We each have the right to receive and inspect all school and medical
       records. Both parties agree, upon request, to provide any required or necessary
       documentation stating the rights of both parties to receive such information. The parent
       having residential custody shall be responsible for taking the Children to any regularly
       scheduled medical or dental appointments and for handling any medical and dental
       emergencies. In an emergency situation, the permissions of both parents are unnecessary.
       Both parties agree to provide any required or necessary documentation stating the rights of
       both parties to receive such information. [Comment: Parties should consider, with
       respect to the foregoing what will happen, in the event one party wishes a child to
       have additional/alternative care (including psychiatric) and should state, in such
       event, who shall pay for such care, and who shall be responsible for transportation to
       and from same. Also, with respect to religious and educational matters, who shall
       pay for same and transport the child to and from same, and if there is a disagreement,
       what method will be used to settle such disagreement. ]


   7. We agree to consult each other frequently by telephone, in person or by correspondence to
mutually agree as to the general health and welfare, education and development of our Children.
Both of us shall have access to medical and school records. Both parties agree, upon request, to
provide any required or necessary documentation stating the rights of both parties to receive such
information. The parent having physical custody of the Children shall take the child to any

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medical                       or                     dental                     appointments.
[Instruction:     Choose      one     of    the    above      #7,   delete     inapplicable.]
[Comment: With respect to education in particular, parties should consult state
requirements, as some states now require parties to provide for higher education for
children in custody settlements. A discussion should be considered regarding who will pay
for such education, and whether or not such party shall be required to pay for community,
state or private college, and if education beyond a bachelor’s degree will be paid for. Such
discussion should include details regarding living expenses, room and board, and insurance

9.     Each parent shall make best efforts to provide advance notification to the other parent
       within twelve (12) hours of any illness or accident requiring medical attention or any
       medical emergency involving said Children, and within two (2) hours of any life
       threatening illness or accident. Each parent shall immediately make best efforts to notify
       the other in the event of the death of said Children.

10.    Each parent shall provide the other parent promptly upon being requested to do so, with
       information concerning the well-being of said Children including, but not limited to;
       weekly school attendance reports, reports concerning completion of homework, copies of
       report cards, school meeting notices, vacation schedules, class programs, requests for
       conferences, results of diagnostic tests, notices of activities involving said Children,
       samples of school work, order forms for school pictures, communications from health care
       providers; the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all schools, preschools, regular
       day care providers, all health care providers, counselors, church or other activity
       supervisor, and friends, schoolmates and relatives, unless specifically prohibited to do so
       by any friend, schoolmate or relative, for said Children.

11.    From September through May of each year, _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.]
       agrees to pay to _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] the sum of $_________
       [Instruction: Insert sum of money.] for the support of the Children. From June through
       August _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] will reduce the amount paid to
       $_________ [Instruction: Insert reduction amount.] per month because _________
       [Instruction: Specify parent.] will be paying child care and camp expenses for the
       Children as well as buying their summer clothes. There shall be no further child support
       owed by either party to the other. All payments are due on the first day of each month.
       [Comment: Parties should consider whether or not to list who shall pay for
       extraordinary expenses, including for example religious classes, private lessons, back
       to school clothing, private school tuition.]

12.    Each party shall be allowed to exercise reasonable telephone communication with the
       Children including, but not limited to, four (4), thirty minute telephone calls per week. The
       parties are restrained and enjoined from initiating or allowing ANY other person to initiate
       telephone communication to the home of the other parent between the hours of 11:00 pm
       and 7:00 am, except in cases of emergency regarding the immediate health and welfare of
       said children specifically. The parents, spouse, said Children, or other children, relatives,
       friends, live-in mates/roommates of either party, are restrained from unreasonably
       interfering with the rights to privacy of said Children during such telephone conversations,

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       or from listening on an extension telephone. In order to facilitate telephone contact
       between the parties and their Children, all parties are to provide one another with working
       telephone contact information and to initiate and assist their Children in immediately
       returning phone messages attempting telephone contact with their Children, from the other
       Parent. If at all possible, said Children shall be allowed to listen to recorded messages from
       the other Parent.

13.    _____ [Instruction: Specify parent.] shall exercise the Federal and State dependency tax
       deductions with reference to the Children each and every year until said Children reach the
       age of 19. [Option: Parties can choose that each parent exercises the deductions for a
       separate child, or that the parents alternate years for exercising such deductions. If
       applicable, parties may also wish to consider discussing who may exercise any
       available childcare tax credits.]

14.    In the event either parent intends to leave said Children for a period of forty-eight (48)
       hours or longer, that parent shall first offer the other parent an opportunity for additional
       time with said Children before making other arrangements for the temporary care of said
       Children. Parent leaving said Children with the other parent or with a temporary child care
       provider shall notify the other parent of the duration of the temporary care of said Children.
       This provision shall not apply in any instance of medical emergency of such parent.

15.    Each party shall NOT deny ANY Child with the other parent because that Child or other of
       said Children are busy, not available, are being punished, are suffering an illness, or refuse
       to go on the scheduled visitation. The receiving parent shall have the OPTION of verifying
       the illness of said Children in person or by telephone, and shall have the option of caring
       for the Children unless the Children are under the care of a physician for serious illness,
       and such physician has placed such Children on bed rest or any of such Children are in the
       hospital. Parent shall provide telephone numbers for contacting the physician currently
       caring for said sick Child(ren) for verification of illness.

16.    Neither parent shall refuse to surrender said Children to the other party or designated
       responsible adult promptly at the beginning of each of the party's parenting time, or
       custodial period. That primary custodial parent shall, upon delivery of said Children to the
       other parent, promptly and simultaneously provide each of the Children with an amount of
       clothing appropriate to the duration of the visit, including but not limited to shirts, pants or
       shorts, socks, shoes, underwear, sleepwear and swimwear. Said clothing shall be
       seasonally appropriate, and of the correct sizes, clean and in good repair. Parent shall also
       supply any prescription glasses, prescription or over-the-counter medication, and
       seasonally appropriate hat, coat and gloves. Belongings of said Children shall be delivered
       in an appropriate container for travel. Parent shall also promptly and simultaneously
       provide any school books, papers or homework assignments due the following school

17.    The party returning said Children from a scheduled vacation, or parenting time shall also
       promptly and simultaneously return ALL belongings, clothing, toys, prescription glasses,
       prescription or over-the-counter medication or empty containers thereof, suitcase or

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       carrying container, school books, papers, homework assignments, or ANY other item with
       which said Children arrived.

18.    Each party, upon receipt of mail or packages addressed to said Children from the other
       parent, or relative of the other parent, shall see to it that such mail or packages are given
       unopened to said Children, or read to and opened for said Children who are unable to do
       so. The Children shall be allowed to retain possession of any appropriate gifts given or
       sent by the other parent, or relative of the other parent.

19.    In the event of death of either parent, full legal and physical custody of said Children shall
       be retained by the surviving parent.

20.    We agree to review the support needs of our Children annually. If adjustments need to be
       made upward due to increased needs of the Children or increased resources for either of us,
       we will attempt to agree on increases. We will not reduce the amount specified in this
       agreement without the approval of the court. [Comment: Parties may wish to consider
       additional language regarding job loss and the maintenance of support at its current
       level, or the reduction in such instance without court approval.]

21.     _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] agrees to keep in effect the family health
       insurance policy currently provided by his/her employer covering the Children. Should
       _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] change jobs or should the employer provide
       other health care options, _________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] agrees to maintain
       health care benefits for the Children at least equivalent to those that existed on the date of
       this Agreement, so long as same are available to such parent, at a cost not to exceed more
       than ___ percent (__%)[Instruction: Insert written percentage, followed by a numerical
       representation of same.] more than such parent is currently paying. _________
       [Instruction: Specify parent.] agrees to pay all medical and dental costs not covered by
       insurance. If any of the Children needs orthodontic work, _________ [Instruction: Specify
       parent.] agrees to pay the full costs.

22.    We agree not to remove the physical custody of the Children from this state without the
       permission of the other parent or court order. Notice must be given of any intent to move
       at least 21 days prior to the move and shall constitute a sufficient change of circumstances
       to allow modification of this agreement and the court decree.

23.    In the event we cannot agree on a matter involving the Children, including any increases in
       support, we agree to contact the Dispute Resolution Center or such similar service as shall
       exist at the time of any such dispute or disputes and apply for mediation of the dispute. If
       mediation proves unsuccessful, either of us may move for modification of the custody
       order as provided by the law of this state.

24.    We feel that it is important for the Children to know both sets of grandparents. Because
       ________ [Instruction: Specify parent.] parents live out of state, the parties agree that the
       children may visit the grandparents for one week in the summer at their home in _____
       [Instruction: Insert state.] or in some other mutually agreed upon place. _________
       [Instruction: Specify parent.] agrees to take the responsibility for making the

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       arrangements and for paying for the transportation costs involved, including accompanying
       the Children on transportation to and from such visit. [Optional language, remove if

25.    This agreement reflects our current feelings with respect to the best interests of our
       Children. We want to remain flexible. We feel that if any of the following events should
       occur, either of us may ask to reconsider the existing custody arrangement in light of the
       new circumstances:

       a. One parent wishing to move from the state;

     b. Serious problems affecting the physical or emotional health of either of us or one of the

       c. Remarriage of either of us or cohabitation;

       d. A change in the development needs of the Children.

_______________________ [Petitioner]

_______________________ [Respondent]

_______________________ [Attorney for Petitioner]

_______________________ [Attorney for Respondent]

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