A notarized child custody agreement refers to the agreement by the parties in presence of a notary on how to raise the children after separation or divorce.
In this case, you and your ex-partner discuss and agree on how the child or children are going to be taken care of by both parties. It highlights the responsibilities of both parents, and this agreement is signed in presence of a notary who becomes a witness to the court in case a party breaches the contract.
Instead of battling in the court and spending a lot of resources that would otherwise be useful in raising your children, some parents consider mediation or settlement outside the court more suitable, where they don’t need to pay for a lawyer or attorney.
But when that proves difficult, the court process is an option. The resulting agreement or contract is what makes up a notarized child custody agreement.
The Contents of Notarized Child Custody Agreement
This is where everything regarding the care of the child or children is recorded. You and your ex-spouse or partner will agree on every item that is raised and must be contained in your document.
That includes the following:
Names of The Parents
Remember this is a formal document that may later be needed by the court in case one of the parents breaches the terms of the contract.
Therefore, the names of both parents must be written as in official documents acceptable by the state.
The Names of The Child or Children
Just like in the case of parents, the notary agreement must capture the legal names of the child as it is in the government identification documents. If you and your former spouse have more than one child, all the information regarding the children should be noted as well.
Responsibilities of Both Parents
This is where the responsibility of each parent is drafted. In most cases, this is a section that is contentious and may take a lot of time for the two parents to agree on the terms that should be stated in this section.
This is because it involves the use of resources and physical custody terms. Some of the details that are captured in this section include:
- The rights and the duties of both parents over the child.
- The primary physical custodial of the child.
- Child maintenance and support by both parents.
One parent should compromise and grant the physical custodial duties to the other. In this case, the parent who will be the non-physical custodian will have the rights to visit the child or children, and vice versa. These terms are spelled in this document as agreed by both parties.
Visitation rights are of significant value to the children, and this is drafted as agreed upon by the two parents to ensure that the child or children receive the best support both psychologically and emotionally.
Just like the courts will consider the child’s best interests, when drafting a notary child custody agreement, the parents must keep in line with the same.
Primary Physical Custody
This is where the child will grow. Both parents will agree on who will take the primary custodial responsibility of the child. When this is agreed, it becomes binding and once it is signed by a notary, the parents are obliged to obey.
It may also be a point of contention especially if the parents have only one child, but eventually, one parent will take the physical custody of the child once they have agreed.
Code of Conduct for The Parents
It is also important to set rules that each party should obey. These rules once agreed upon by the parties are drafted and become binding.
These rules revolve around the care of the child and the code of conduct by the parents that seek to ensure that they are not affecting the child psychologically.
In this case, the rules will compel the parents to behave in a manner that will not affect the growth of the child or children.
Notary Signature and Stamp
After everything has been drafted or captured in the agreement, a notary should sign the document and give it a stamp. Once this is done, the agreement becomes a contract that binds the two parents.
Is Notarized Child Custody Agreement Helpful in the Court?
Since this is a contract that is signed and stamped by a notary, it can be helpful in case one party breaches the contract, in a court process.
That means it can be used in the court process if one party fails to abide by the stipulated terms.
That does not mean it will be enforced by the court since it was not ratified to be enforced by the court.
Is the Agreement Enforceable?
The agreement between the parents is just a contract that is signed by a notary. Therefore, it cannot be enforced by the court but can be helpful if the parties, later on, decide to take the matters to the court.
For it to be enforceable, the parties will be required to file for custody and present their agreement to the court. The court will then incorporate it into an enforceable custody order.
It is of paramount importance to have the notary agreement incorporated into a court order. This will enable or help both parties to comply with their agreements without fail.
This will also help in the growth and development of the children since once you have agreed on the custodial rights and responsibilities, it will work better than the ones that are drafted by other parties.
In case of divorce or separation, parents where possible need to discuss how the child or children can be raised, by who, and how.
It is better when there is a notary to make these agreements a binding contract for the two parents. That is what amounts to a notarized child custody agreement.