Even after your divorce is finalized, there's a chance you will still have contact with your ex-spouse. This is absolutely the case in the event that you have a child together.
Since co-parenting can be full of many challenges, it's imperative to create a parenting agreement that suits both individuals. Most divorcing couples are able to create a parenting agreement through mediation, as opposed to litigation. When working through this process, there are many details to consider.
Even though no two parenting agreements are identical, here are some of the things you may want to include:
- Which parent will have physical custody (where the child will live)
- If one or both parents will have legal custody
- Visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- A schedule for where the child will spend birthdays, holidays and vacations (among other major life events)
- How to arrange for contact with extended family members, such as grandparents
- A system for making changes to the parenting agreement in the future
- A system for resolving any disputes that could arise
What about court approval?
While you and the other parent have the right to work through the finer details of a parenting agreement, it will still make its way to a family law judge for final approval.
It's not always necessary, but there are times when both parents may have to attend an informal court hearing to assure the judge that they understand the details of the parenting agreement.
Violations of the parenting agreement
You should do whatever it takes to follow the parenting agreement, even if there are times when it's difficult to do so. In the event that one parent continues to violate the parenting agreement, the other parent has the right to go to court in an attempt to resolve the matter once and for all.
You should create a parenting agreement with the idea that it's the best thing for your child. Once you and your ex-spouse settle into a co-parenting routine, guided by the parenting agreement, you should be able to remain on track.
However, if something goes wrong, learn more about your legal rights. You don't want the other parent to hold you back from maintaining a strong relationship with your child.