A divorce isn't something you hope to go through, but if you find yourself in this position, it's best to take all the right steps at the right time. This is even more important if you have a child with the other person, as you need to keep their best interest in mind throughout the process.
Creating the right parenting agreement is a big deal, as this will keep everyone in line in the future. With this in place, both parents, as well as the child, will have a clear idea of what to expect and what's to come.
As the name suggests, a parenting agreement outlines details associated with child custody and visitation, ensuring that both parents know what they can and can't do in the future.
What does a parenting agreement include?
Since no two divorcing couples are in the same position, you need to take a unique approach to creating a parenting agreement. You don't want to assume that what's right for another person is right for you.
However, there are some key points to include in any parenting agreement, such as:
- Which parent has physical custody, as this determines where the child will live
- If one or both parents have legal custody
- A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- A schedule for determining where the child will spend vacations, holidays and other events
- A system for communicating with one another
The best parenting agreements also include details on how to make future changes. For example, as your child ages they may not have as much time on the weekend to visit with the non-custodial parent. This should result in a change to the parenting agreement.
Once you negotiate all the details of the parenting agreement, it is submitted to a family law judge for final approval. It's not always required, but the judge may want to speak with both individuals to ensure that they understand the agreement.
Even with a court-approved parenting agreement in place, a violation could still occur. For example, your ex-spouse may attempt to keep you from visiting with your child as outlined in the agreement.
If this happens, you should review your parenting agreement, learn more about your legal rights and take steps to get everything back on track.