Child Custody

Our children are now by mutual agreement physically staying with me (their dad). Mom and kids relationship is very volatile. Mom loses her temper and the children are withdrawn and antagonistic to her authority. I want her to have decision making power as a parent, but for us to mutually agree on visitation. Would this be joint custody or what would this be called?

At present, I want mom to be denied physical possession rights to the children. I am not sure if she will agree to this and what action I may have to take to enact that.

Here are my thoughts (Separation Agreement DRAFT):

  1. The Parties agree that joint legal custody is in the best interests of the children. The Parties agree that both parents are fit and proper persons to have joint responsibility for the care of the dependent children.

25. Both parties agree that the children may at some future time desire to stay with Adriana Vermillion as their primary residence. In which case, both Kenneth Vermillion and Adriana Vermillion and children may negotiate if and when this will occur based on the following guidelines:
A. The child(ren) in question is/are showing Adriana Vermillion due respect as their mother and a recognized and accepted authority figure in their life - This entails taking responsibility for their behavior and refraining from demeaning Adriana Vermillion by means of name-calling, labels, disparaging remarks, or stonewalling (non-compliance and w it hd r a w a l) .
B. The child(ren) have demonstrated obedience and respectful compliance with Adriana Vermillion regarding age-appropriate responsibilities
C. The child(ren) in question desire(s) this to be so
The child(ren) may not do so in order to circumnavigate the respective authority or rules of each parties household. As much as is possible both parties agree to align house rules and expectations for both children so as to mitigate conflicts around these differences.

Can you provide some guidance on how to formulate this to be most agreeable and reasonable and accomplish this goal?

I would further define joint legal custody; i.e. “Joint legal custody is defined as both parents having the right to make decisions related to the children’s schooling, religion, (whatever else you want to include.” It is always best to define what exactly you mean by legal and physical custody.

With regard to the subsequent provisions, I will caution you that they are not really enforceable. Who determines whether the children are showing her respect? She and the kids may say they are, while you may disagree. Additionally, keep in mind that if you are using a separation agreement to dictate the custodial arrangement, either party can at any time file a complaint for child custody. Regardless of any agreement you have in place, the court will always hear custody cases so they can make a decision in the best interests of the child. So, if you find yourself disagreeing about whether or not the children are respectful of her authority, she can simply file a complaint for child custody and the judge will start from scratch when it comes to your custodial arrangement.