What is needed for a legal custody document? 1 Answers as of April 27, 2011

In the divorce decree it states both kids will live with mom, dad gets them during summer and holidays. However the oldest, she is 10, decided she would rather live with dad. Right now she is with grandparents here in Texas and sees dad on weekends. Mom has agreed to let her live with dad. What is needed in the notarized document? We just want to be sure once it is signed there is no going back, unless the child decides it. Which brings up another question, if they each have one child how does child support work? He has agreed to pay her a certain amount, but we were just curious if he even had to do that or if it is considered split custody and no child support is needed. Thanks so much!

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The only paperwork that is solid enough that there is "no going back" is a court order. That said, an informal agreement is good evidence if she does try to go back on the deal. An informal agreement needs first and foremost her (mom's) signature.

Notary would be nice, but not absolutely necessary. That said, get it anyway. Split custody comes in two forms. 50/50 split of time and separating the kids. Whether or not the child support is waived is not a bright line, it can be, or it may not be. Some courts even use the offsetting support equation (Mom pays Dad support for the child he has, Dad pays Mom support for the child she has - each pays the support owed according the the state guideline support tables, then the court actually figures out the difference and that is the only money that actually changes hands). There are, according to your question, Orders that exist now. Those orders remain the orders of the court until replaced by other orders. Agreements of the parties notwithstanding. However, if Mom tries to enforce the orders at some later date, the informal agreement can be used as evidence of intent to waive support (all or part) exchange custody, split custody, etc.. The agreement, if you go that route, should be drafted clearly and concisely to that effect.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 4/27/2011
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