Are you moving through the divorce process and wondering how it will impact your life in the future? Do you have concerns about maintaining a strong relationship with your child or children?
Although there are a lot of moving parts, there are steps you can take to put yourself in position for success down the road. For example, creating a parenting agreement will go a long way in helping both parents understand their role in the future.
During a child custody dispute, you and the other parent will discuss a variety of matters. As you work through these details, your goal is to create a parenting agreement that outlines the responsibilities and actions of each parent.
Here are some of the many things to include in a parenting agreement:
- Where the child will live, which is the same as which parent has physical custody
- Which parent has legal custody (it can be both)
- A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent, to ensure that this person is able to spend time with the child as well
- An outline for where the child will spend life events such as holidays, vacations and birthdays
- How to handle contact with other family members, including but not limited to step-siblings and grandparents
- A system for making changes and settling disputes should the need arise in the future
Since every divorce is unique, you may need to include additional language in your parenting agreement. As your divorce moves forward, it’ll become clear as to what you should include and what you can leave out.
Once you work through everything in mediation, the agreement is sent to a family court for the approval of a judge. If everything checks out, your parenting agreement goes into effect and you need to follow the terms and conditions.
If at any point the other parent is breaking the agreement, you may need to ask him or her what is going on. If you aren’t satisfied with the answer and the person continues to ignore the agreement, you may need to learn more about your legal rights and to take action in the near future.