As an adult, navigating separation or divorce can be hard. For children, understanding the implications of a family breakdown can seem impossible. So how can you move forward while helping ensure that your child’s best interests are protected? A parenting agreement can be key tool that helps keep the focus on what matters most.
What Is A Parenting Agreement?
A parenting agreement, or parenting plan, is a contract that addresses matters relating to children following a separation or divorce. The goal of a parenting plan is to safeguard a child’s best interests and focus on their needs, not to prioritize the wants and preferences of the adults.
Ideally, a parenting plan is collaborative and has both spouses working together to reach mutually agreeable decisions. It should set clear expectations and feature practical, adaptable guidelines that accommodate the flexible nature of life.
What Should A Parenting Agreement Cover?
The contents of a parenting agreement can be as unique as the family creating it. Depending on your lifestyle, objectives, and future plans, the agreement ought to address the situations and scenarios that are most likely to arise.
Some of the considerations to make when drafting a parenting agreement may include:
- Living arrangements and geographical considerations
- Parenting schedules
- Holiday, birthday, and vacation arrangements
- Health, medical, and dental care matters
- Education, extra-curriculars, and recreational activities
- Access to grandparents and other extended family members
- Culture, language, and religion
- Conflict resolution
- Changes and amendments to the agreement
For many families, the key to a successful parenting agreement is to be as detailed as possible. Issues such as pets, diet, discipline, and social media presence may be addressed in order to ensure that all parties are on the same page. Other couples may prefer a less comprehensive approach, allowing for a certain degree of flexibility
Preparing A Parenting Agreement
Since parenting agreements are so important, getting legal advice before and during preparation is critical. Because you know your children better than anyone else, you drive the process and make the big decisions. Your lawyer’s role is to help ensure that you address all the necessities and that every aspect of the agreement is carefully considered to avoid conflict or disputes. Your lawyer can also help you file the agreement as a consent order with the court, if need be.
With so much at stake, having a solid parenting agreement can help ease the stress of separation or divorce and provide peace of mind for adults and children alike.