Do you and your co-parent have an agreement for one of you to have sole custody of your child and want to come up with a custody arrangement that works for your child without involving the California family court? Joint child custody is not right for every family. For a variety of reasons, parents may come to a custody agreement out of court that one of them should have custody of their child, and the other parent should (or perhaps, should not) have visitation.
Sometimes it can seem like there is an endless supply of help out there for parents who can’t agree on custody of their child, but finding resources for parents who are actually compromising and cooperating can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.
Detailed Sole Child Custody Agreement – Practical Sample Template for California Courts
If our child custody and visitation agreement for sole custody template does not help you reach a stipulation with your co-parent for the benefit of your child, the next step is seeking the help of a skilled family law attorney for help determining what is in your child’s best interests under California law.
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The Basics of Sole Custody
The general phrase sole custody, sometimes referred to as “full custody,” can refer to sole physical custody, sole legal custody, or both.
If a parent has sole physical custody, their child lives with them full time and has visits with the other parent, unless the family court finds that visits wouldn’t be in the child’s best interest. Note: this is rare absent a domestic violence restraining order, serious substance abuse of a parent, or some other emergency court order.
If a parent has sole legal custody, they make all major decisions regarding the child without consulting the other parent; this includes decisions about medical care, education, and religion.
Whether you have an agreement to modify a current custody order to provide you with more parenting time with your child, or don’t have an order at all, if you decide together that your child would benefit from sole custody, our template can be tailored to meet your needs.
Free Sample Stipulation – Sole Child Custody Agreement Example Court Order in California:
THE PARTIES OF THE ABOVE-ENTITLED MATTER ENTER INTO THE FOLLOWING STIPULATION AND ORDER RE CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION:
I. CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
1. FATHER/MOTHER shall have SOLE LEGAL CUSTODY of the minor children: CHILD’S NAME, born CHILD’S DOB; and CHILD’S NAME, born CHILD’S DOB.
A. Each parent will have access to the children’s school, medical, and dental records and the right to consult with those professionals providing services to the children.
2. FATHER/MOTHER shall have SOLE PHYSICAL CUSTODY of the children. FATHER/MOTHER’S home shall be considered the child’s primary residence for school enrollment purposes.
3. VISITATION SCHEDULE
A. MOTHER’S PARENTING TIME:
1) EXAMPLE: MOTHER shall have the children on alternating weekends from Friday at 6 PM until Sunday at 6 PM, commencing November 20, 2020.
B. FATHER’S PARENTING TIME:
1) FATHER shall have the minor children at all other times not specifically allocated to MOTHER herein.
C. During any parenting period, the parent will be expected to spend as much time as possible with the children.
D. BOTH PARENTS shall have as much additional parenting time with the children as can be agreed upon by the parents.
E. No interference with the schedule of the other parent without that parent’s consent. Neither parent will schedule activities for the children during the other parent’s scheduled parenting time without the other parent’s prior agreement.
F. Canceled parenting time. If the non-custodial parent fails to arrive at the appointed time and fails to notify the custodial parent that he or she will be late, then the custodial parent need wait for only 30 minutes before considering the visitation canceled.
G. In the event that the non-custodial parent is unable to exercise visitation on a given occasion, he or she must notify the custodial parent at the earliest possible opportunity.
H. The custodial parent must give the non-custodial parent, as much notice as is possible, if the children are ill and unable to participate in scheduled time with the other parent. A doctor’s excuse is required.
4. HOLIDAYS/SPECIAL DAYS
A. Holidays/Special Days/School Breaks shall be arranged by mutual agreement of the parents.
B. Special day contacts shall take precedence over regular periods and holiday visitation for either parent.
C. Holiday/Special Day contacts shall take precedence over regular and school break contacts and shall not interfere with school attendance.
A. A parents’ vacation may not interfere with the other parent’s Holidays/Special Days or School Break schedules unless agreed upon between the parents in writing.
B. Every year, each parent may take vacation with the children for up to 7 days, for no more than 7 consecutive days at once. The parent must notify the other parent verbally and in writing of their vacation plans a minimum of 30 days in advance and provide the other parent with a basic itinerary that includes dates of leaving and returning, destinations, flight information, and telephone numbers for emergency purposes.
C. Should the parents’ vacation/travel dates conflict, FATHER shall have preference for his dates in the ODD-NUMBERED (2021, 2023) years and MOTHER shall have preference for her dates in the EVEN-NUMBERED years (2020, 2022).
D. When either parent plans to travel outside of the State of California for overnight or longer during their parenting time, a contact phone number and destination shall be provided to the other parent.
E. Any vacation outside the United States requires prior written notice to and consent of the other parent or a court order.
A. Only a licensed and insured driver will drive the children. The vehicle must have legal child restraint devices.
B. If the parents cannot choose a mutually agreeable exchange location, FATHER and MOTHER, or their agreed adult designee, shall pick up and drop off the children at the curbside of the other parent’s home by the receiving parent when the exchanges do not take place at the minor children’s school.
C. The parents shall not use the exchange times to discuss conflicts pertaining to the children, their own adult disputes or their court case.
7. TELEPHONE/AUDIO-VIDEO COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES
A. The children may have telephone/audio-video access to the parents at reasonable times and for a reasonable duration.
B. Each parent may have telephone/audio-video access to the children at reasonable times and for a reasonable duration.
C. Neither parent nor any other third party may listen to or monitor the calls.
8. ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS
1) The children must not be left alone without age appropriate supervision.
2) The parents must let each other know the name, address and phone number of the children’s regular childcare providers.
B. Children’s clothing and belongings
1) Each parent will maintain clothing for the children so that the children do not have to make the exchanges with additional clothing.
9. RESTRAINTS ON CONDUCT
A. No Use of Children as Messenger. The parents will communicate directly with each other on matters concerning the children and may not use the children as messengers between them.
B. No Negative Comments. Neither parent will make, nor allow others to make, negative comments about the other parent or the other parent’s past or present relationships, family, or friends within hearing distance of the children.
C. No Parental Alienation. Each parent is enjoined and restrained from saying anything or doing anything, which might tend to alienate the affection of the minor child for the other parent or allowing any third person to do so.
D. Detriment to the Children. Both parents are enjoined and restrained from doing anything, and permitting any third person from doing so, that would be detrimental to the health, safety, morals, or welfare of the children.
E. No Exposure to Secondhand Smoke. The children will not be exposed to secondhand smoke, including but not limited to cigarettes, marijuana, hookah, or vaping. The children will not be exposed to any form of secondhand smoke while in the home or car of either parent.
F. No Corporal Punishment. Each parent is enjoined and restrained from inflicting corporal (physical) punishment of any kind on the children or permitting any third person to do so.
G. Discussing the Case. Neither parent shall discuss the business of this case with the children, nor permit any third person to do so, except in the presence of a therapist.
10. The terms and conditions of this order may be added to or changed as the needs of the children and parents change. Such changes will be in writing, dated and signed by both parents; each parent will retain a copy. Unless the changes are filed in court, the changes may not be enforceable. If the parents want a change to be a court order, it must be filed with the court in the form of a court document.
11. Family Code, section 3048(A) Findings:
A. This court is the court of proper jurisdiction to make child custody orders under the UCCJEA;
B. The responding parent was given notice and an opportunity to be heard; a clear description of the legal and physical custody rights of each party is contained in this order;
C. The country of habitual residence of the children is the United States of America.
12. The parties herein agree that a Court Commissioner or Temporary Judge may sign this Stipulation and Order.
13. The parties herein agree that a signature appearing via electronic transmission may have the same full force and effect as an original signature.
APPROVED AS TO FORM AND CONTENT:
Contact a California Custody Lawyer to Obtain the Optimal Result
If you are hoping to draft a California custody agreement that will stand the test of time, rather than requiring repeated visits to the California family courts, please contact California child custody attorney. Colleen Talkov can advise you of your rights upon an assessment of the facts in your case before using this agreement or signing an agreement in child custody mediation.
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