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As families change, so do look/feel of child custody agreements

With the subject matter ever expanding in many child custody agreements, and the agreed-upon parenting arrangements growing progressively more detailed and complex, the opinion of many family law experts regarding such a trend coalesces toward this once central viewpoint:

Don't confuse your kids.

In the "old" days, norms and expectations in America regarding child custody following a divorce were far different than they are now, with today's outcomes reflecting the rise of joint custody and the parenting plans created to make sense of a shared custody arrangement.

Fathers are increasingly involved in their children's lives post-divorce, whether in Georgia or elsewhere throughout the country, and parenting plans now routinely provide the framework for setting forth former partners' expectations regarding how shared custody arrangements will work.

That change is coupled, too, with a modified family landscape in American life. Over recent decades, increasingly more marriages have been marked by multicultural elements. Spouses are often from different countries. Religious faith and beliefs can vary among family members. Views on holidays, schooling, language learning and a number of other factors can all be central considerations in a modern family.

Especially one in which the partners are divorcing or have just divorced. Child custody agreements often reflect this complexity, with detailed arrangements concerning a number of matters spelled out at length and seeking to cover every contingency.

Family law counselors, attorneys and other persons closely involved with such matters say that common sense , flexibility and keeping things simple are key when a couple sits down and begins discussing a child custody agreement.

"You have to be careful with this stuff," says one counselor, noting the tendency some people have with trying to be all-inclusive in a written document.

Source: The Washington Post, "Divorce's details: Custody agreements are getting more complex" Michelle Boorstein, Dec. 26, 2011

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