What Is a Temporary Custody Agreement?
A Temporary custody agreement is an interim agreement containing the provisions and arrangements relevant for a child’s need and care. It is a substitute for a final custody agreement until the final custody agreement is reached. Apart from divorce, there may be other circumstances where the temporary custody agreement temporary guardianship may be granted like a parent having a health issue and requiring long term hospitalization, one of the parent has a stern job like a military duty and hence temporarily unavailable to take care of the child, parent having financial problem and therefore becoming impossible to take care of child, parent is deported and other circumstances.
In certain situations, temporary custody agreements for grandparents is also drafted. Custody agreements made under these circumstances are the temporary or interim ones, and once the circumstances become normal, custody of the child is returned to the parent. Parents wishing to assign temporary custody to some other party in circumstances other than divorce or separation are required to go to the court for getting temporary custody order so that the other party who has got the custody of the child can have a legal ability to act as a parent of a child in the absence of original parents.
In case custody agreement is obtained while the divorce process still going on, a parent can very well alter or modify the contents of an agreement if he/she is not satisfied with the present contents of the agreement and may request the court to make changes along with the compelling reasons. Sometimes the judge can set aside the temporary custody agreement if s/he thinks that the current custody agreement is not serving the best interests of the child.
Who Are the Parties Involved in a Temporary Custody Agreement?
A temporary custody agreement typically contains two main parties if temporary custody is obtained due to the divorce/separation of parents:
If the agreement is made between the parents of a child and the other person due to some other circumstances other than divorce then:
- The other party.
What Is the Purpose of a Temporary Custody Agreement?
A temporary custody agreement is created for the following purposes:
- Temporary custody agreement between parents is made to take care of the best interest of the child and his/her needs. A temporary guardianship is often best for the child if both parents are not available.
- Due to some parental issues (separation/divorce, the parent being unable to perform his/her obligations towards the child due to some circumstances), an effort is made through this agreement to not to disturb the child’s needs and interests. Hence temporary custody agreement is created for the best interest of the child.
- They help in preventing one parent from going too far until the court proceedings are finished.
Contents of a Temporary Custody Agreement
A Temporary custody agreement consists of the following main components:
Child details: Name of the child, date of birth must be there at the beginning of the agreement.
Legal custody and decision making: This provision includes the custody rights of the parent and having the authority of taking all the decisions related to the welfare of childlike education, health.
Residential custody and access rights: This clause determines which one (mother/father) will be having the residential custody of the child and with whom the child will reside.
Child Visitation schedule and access rights: This includes the parent’s right to visit the child and on which days and on what dates the parent can visit and have access to the child.
Declaration of parental responsibilities: This clause contains the responsibilities taken and to be fulfilled by the parent who is having the custody of the child. Some responsibilities that include when a parent is having the custody of the child is educational, medical, cultural, religious upbringings.
Time period: The duration of the temporary custody must be mentioned in the agreement. Sometimes the temporary custody agreement automatically dissolves after the divorce is finalized, or sometimes the judge may also terminate the agreement if it is no more in the best interest of the child.
How to Draft a Temporary Custody Agreement?
- The first requirement is a clear statement of the details surrounding what the temporary guardian is allowed to do. Ironing out details for the child’s best interests is extremely critical.
- Expanding on factors such as schooling, healthcare, etc. is essential to secure your child. As much specification as is possible is appreciated in this section. From listing all current doctors for the child to the kinds of permission that may be granted to the child for school activities, everything should be elaborated upon.
- Remember that in case negotiations do not yield fruit, the court might convert this temporary arrangement into a permanent order. Hence, a declaration of parental responsibilities must also be mentioned in the agreement.
- A legal consultant with specialization in the arena of family laws must be sought advice from. More often than not, such an expert is able to give valuable inputs as well as draft the agreement formally. This ensures that you are not missing out on any details, and also that there is sufficient formality with respect to the agreement.
- There are also cases where the separation between the parents takes a long while to formalize. In such a scenario, years might be spent in court. Many modifications may crop up in your mind; requesting the court for a change in the agreement is effective in this situation.
What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of a Temporary Custody Agreement?
- With a Temporary Custody Agreement in place, the best interests of a child are guaranteed. The court examines a number of factors to make this determination, with particular concern for the child’s physical and emotional development and well-being.
- It ensures that a child’s future and growth isn’t affected by financial problems, differences between parents, poor health of either parent, etc. Both the parents and the child can be assured of the best option with a Temporary Custody Agreement.
- The process of negotiation is emotionally and financially draining. Many times, parents feel like giving up on the process. It, however, needs to be realized that the long and tedious process would only result in their child’s well-being.
- The legalities of the process are baffling. Parents generally have to undergo a lot of legal procedures before a peaceful settlement is realized. The court has a major responsibility on its itself to ensure a secure future for the child. Hence, the entire course of time is troubling for the parents.
- Once an agreement comes into place, there is a huge risk of violation by either side. There might be out-of-time visits or some error on the part of the guardian himself/herself. This leads to a completely new set of legal processes.
What Happens in Case of Violation?
Violation of a TCA occurs when one party fails to comply with the terms set forth by the court in a child custody/visitation order. Allowing someone else other than the guardian to take care of the child, visiting the child at non-appointment times, etc. are examples of the violation.
In such a scenario, a guardian may either report to the police, seek legal assistance or file a motion with the court. A violation constitutes a contempt of the court. What happens as a result of these actions?
The court tries to understand why the order might have been violated. In case it is something that can be mediated between the parents, the court allows for the make-up time. However, in instances where there is a gross violation of the order, the result can be imprisonment or even loss of custody rights over the child for the guardian.
[ Also Read: Child Visitation Agreements ]
We understand how stressful divorce or separation is. It challenges one emotionally and financially(1). It is not an easy task for parents to figure out the best way to decide on a child’s custody. However, temporary custody agreements are essential to protect the best interests of your child.
From the paperwork to the court proceedings, the task gets very hectic. But be assured that it is only for a better future for both the child and the parents. It is not always possible to ensure that all your wishes and demands from such an agreement find legal validity. However, keeping the child’s needs at the center will help you figure out a way around all these challenges.