Going through a divorce is difficult enough if you don't have any children with the other individual. However, if you have at least one child with your ex, you know that there are sure to be additional challenges in the future.
This is why you should learn as much as possible about how to create the perfect parenting agreement. While there is no way to completely avoid the stress and challenges associated with co-parenting, the right type of agreement will keep both parents on track.
As the name suggests, a parenting agreement is created to ensure that all issues revolving around child custody and visitation are in order. While no two agreements are identical, there are some basic details that every one should include:
- Which parent has physical custody of the child
- Which parent or if both will have legal custody of the child
- An agreed upon visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- A schedule to help facilitate where the child will spend holidays, vacations, birthdays and other important events
- A system for contact with grandparents, other relatives and family friends
- How to manage changes to the agreement and disputes in the future
While all of these details are important, many people often overlook the last one. They assume that the parenting agreement they create today should remain in place indefinitely.
This is true to a certain degree, but changes may be necessary every now and again. For example, as your child ages, his or her school activities may get in the way of the visitation schedule. This calls for an immediate change, to ensure that both parents continue to have their own time with the child.
Once you settle on the final details, your parenting agreement is sent off to a family law judge for final approval.
It's not always necessary, but you may have to partake in an informal court hearing to answer some basic questions and prove to the judge that you understand what the parenting agreement entails.
It's your hope that the other parent will always follow the agreement, but there's no guarantee. If he or she violates it, you may need to learn more about your legal rights and take immediate action.