Child Custody Agreements in Mississippi

In Mississippi, parties to a divorce can create a child custody agreement, which normally a) contains a plan for custody and visitation of the minor children, and b) determines how vacation time and holidays will be apportioned among the parents.  A child custody agreement can be created as soon as your divorce case starts, and ends when the court ultimately approves its terms.  Importantly, these agreements, once accepted, legally bind the parties and as such, must be complied with at all times.

The most efficient way of putting together a child custody agreement is by working together with your spouse during the divorce process.  While this is not always possible given the difficult circumstances often surrounding a divorce, the more you are able to cooperate with your spouse, the less painful your divorce process may be.  If you are struggling to get a custody agreement together, Mississippi allows for a mediator to assist with the process.  Experienced Mississippi family law attorneys can also be extremely useful in helping the parties reach an agreement.

In order to create an appropriate custody agreement, it is important to understand the various custodial arrangements that parents can seek in Mississippi.  Specifically, a party can seek sole custody, which is when a child resides with one parent and has visitation with the other.  Parties can also seek joint physical custody, the most common form sought, which refers to an arrangement where both parents share in the custody of the child.  This does not necessarily mean that the time spent with each parent is equal however, it does afford the parties a reasonable amount of time to be with their children.  Moreover, parties can also seek joint legal custody, which is the ability for both parents to make important decisions about the health, education and welfare of the children.  Most often, parents seek joint legal custody unless, i.e., the ideologies or beliefs of the one parent are the complete polar opposite of the other, making it more appropriate for one parent to have sole legal custody.

When coming up with an appropriate custodial arrangement, it is highly recommended that parents consider not only their needs, but also, the needs of their children.  This means that parents should think about the adaptability of their children, with whom would it be more appropriate for the children to primarily reside, how suited the children are to their school, church, and community in general, and also, what their children have expressed in terms of their own preferences.

Once an appropriate custodial arrangement has been established, a visitation schedule can also be included within the agreement.  Parents should contemplate a schedule that is convenient for all parties and also, easy to follow.  While visitation schedules may vary, many people choose to have the children spend every weekend or every other weekend with one parent while they remain at the other parent’s house during the school week.

Additionally, we cannot stress enough the importance for parties to a custodial agreement to realize that it is legally binding.  As such, you should make sure that the agreement reflects everything both accurately and appropriately.  Forgetting to add something in the agreement can create headaches later on so we always recommend that you review the agreement in its totality before signing on the dotted line.  Again, attorneys can really add value to this process, and as such, it is highly recommended that you work with one in order to fully protect your legal interests.

If you are considering getting a divorce, it is essential to consult with an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of cases.  Only a skilled Mississippi family law attorney can help you learn more about your legal options, the nature and extent of your rights and responsibilities, and how to optimize your chances of getting what you want out of your divorce case.  Give us a call now – we look forward to providing you with excellent representation.

Contact Mississippi custody lawyer Matthew S. Poole for a consultation by calling (601) 573-7429 today. 

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