Divorce can be challenging for all members of a family, but it is sometimes a necessary step that can provide all parties with the best possible living arrangements. And when children are involved, it is important for parents to work out an amenable agreement regarding child custody and visitation rights.
To this end, divorcing couples with children need to draw up what is known as a parenting agreement. Basically, a parenting agreement outlines how issues of visitation and custody are to be handled. Some of the elements that may be included in a parenting agreement are:
- Which family members will have legal custody, allowing them to be part of the decision making process for the children.
- Visitation schedules.
- Who will have physical custody of the children.
- Where the child will spend birthdays, vacations and holidays.
- The manner in which contact with grandparents and other parties will be conducted.
Crafting an acceptable parenting plan is important for a number of reasons. First, it gets everyone on the same page regarding what to expect as time moves on. This is beneficial for the children as it gives them a sense of structure. And because a parenting plan must be adhered to, both parents are accountable for their actions.
Sometimes it is possible for divorcing spouses to work out their parenting agreement without intervention. At other times, it is helpful for an attorney to mediate the situation. An experienced child custody attorney can offer you advice on what stipulations you may want as part of your parenting agreement. The attorney could also represent your interests if your ex-spouse acts in a manner that defies the terms of the agreement.