When going through the divorce process, you expect tensions to rise and disagreements to move to the forefront. You also expect things to die down post-divorce, thus allowing you to establish a new life with your children.
A parenting agreement can help prevent future arguments with your ex, as it provides both of you with a clear idea of what you should and shouldn’t be doing in regard to how you raise your children.
You can include a variety of terms and conditions in a parenting agreement, with these among the most common:
- Custody: Who will have physical custody of your children? Who will have legal custody? Will you share legal custody? These types of questions should be worked out and included in your parenting agreement.
- Visitation schedule: The non-custodial parent, meaning the parent who doesn’t have physical custody, will rely on a visitation schedule to ensure that they’re able to spend time with their children.
- Schedule for special occasions: Many co-parenting arguments are related to where children will spend special occasions, such as holidays, birthdays and school vacations. Including this in a parenting agreement minimizes the chance of an argument.
Does it require court approval?
Even if you work out the terms of a parenting agreement in mediation, a family law judge must still review it and sign for final approval.
Depending on the circumstances, the judge may request that both individuals attend an informal hearing to prove that they understand the terms and what’s expected of them in the future.
Don’t violate your parenting agreement
As a legally binding court order, violating a parenting agreement is a big deal. For example, if your ex continually fails to return your children after scheduled visits, you could take them to court to enforce the agreement and seek a modification.
It’s a challenge to create a parenting agreement, as both parents want what’s best for them and their children. While negotiation and compromise are necessary, don’t make any decisions that you may regret in the future.
When created in an appropriate manner, a parenting agreement can help prevent future arguments, which allows you to maintain a more stable environment for your children.