As you go through the divorce process, it's critical to keep in mind the best interests of your children. Neglecting to do so can result in a variety of mistakes, such as a parenting agreement that doesn't mutually benefit you, your ex and your children.
Here are some key questions to answer when creating a parenting agreement:
- Which parent will have physical custody of the children?
- Which parent will have legal custody of the children?
- What type of visitation schedule makes the most sense for the noncustodial parent?
- What's the best way to manage timesharing on special occasions, such as birthdays, summer vacation and holidays?
- How will you deal with contact with other family members, such as grandparents and close friends?
- Will you include language outlining a strategy for dealing with future changes and disputes?
While these are some of the most important questions to answer when creating a parenting agreement, others may move to the forefront along the way. This is particularly true if you're working through matters of child custody in mediation, as both individuals must negotiate and compromise to reach an agreement.
Don't rush the process of creating a parenting agreement, as this can result in making a decision that doesn't suit you and/or your children over the long run.
Once your parenting agreement is in place, it's the responsibility of you and your ex to follow the terms and conditions. If your ex continually violates the agreement, such as by neglecting to follow the visitation schedule, consider the steps you can take to protect your legal rights.