The thought of going through a divorce is challenging enough. Even if you know this is the best thing you can do, it goes without saying that you will have some reservations.

Fortunately, knowledge of the process makes it much easier for you to move forward one step at a time.

If you have at least one child with the other parent, you’ll have more decisions to make. This is why a parenting agreement is so important. Not only does it help you work through all the necessary details during the divorce, but it ensures that both parents know what they should and shouldn’t be doing after it’s finalized.

While no two parenting agreements are the same, there are many things you should consider including. Think about the following:

  • Which parent will have physical custody (this is whom the child or children will live with)
  • If one or both parents will have legal custody (this is who makes important life decisions)
  • Visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent, such as when he or she will get to spend time with the child
  • Where the child will spend major life events, ranging from holidays to birthdays to vacations
  • The best process for contact between the child and other family members, including grandparents, aunts and uncles

In addition to the above, the best parenting agreements also have a system for dealing with disputes and any changes that need to be made in the future. You may assume this is unnecessary, but things have a way of changing as your child gets older. You want to make sure all your bases are covered up front.

You may face some challenges as you attempt to create a parenting agreement, but there are steps you can take to compromise with the other parent.

Once you have a sound parenting agreement in place, the only thing you need to do is follow through with your responsibilities.

When you combine a parenting agreement with knowledge of your legal rights, you can feel good about your ability to put your divorce in the past and continue your strong relationship with your child.