You’ll take on a variety of tasks as you move through the divorce process. If you have children with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it’s critical that you create a parenting agreement that will guide you in the future.
While no two divorcing couples create the exact same parenting agreement, there are some questions it should definitely answer. These include but are not limited to:
- Who has physical custody of the children? This is important, as your children will live with the parent who has physical custody.
- Who has legal custody of the children? This is different than physical custody, as it determines which parent has the right to make important decisions on behalf of their children, such as those related to religion, education and health care.
- Where will the children spend holidays and special occasions? If you don’t touch on this, you’re asking for trouble during the holiday season, birthdays and vacations. For example, you can write into your parenting agreement that you’ll spend Thanksgiving with your children on even numbered years and your ex on odd numbered years.
- What does the visitation schedule look like?: If you don’t have physical custody of your children, you should fight for visitation rights. This gives you the opportunity to visit with your children on a regular schedule.
- How will you manage future disputes and changes? This is one of the most overlooked aspects of a sound parenting agreement. Even if you think your agreement is iron clad, you’re likely to find yourself involved in a dispute in the future. And in some cases, you may even need to change your agreement. This is common as your children age and they become involved in more activities. Language regarding how to manage disputes and changes will give you peace of mind.
It’s not always easy to hash out the details of a parenting agreement, but when you answer the questions above you’ll feel better about your ability to do so.
In the event that your ex-spouse neglects to follow the terms of your agreement, look into your legal rights for requesting a modification from the court.