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The importance of a comprehensive parenting agreement

When going through a divorce, there's nothing more important to you than the well-being of your children. It's your job to protect them at all costs, before, during and after your split.

While you're sure to run into co-parenting challenges, it's critical to create a comprehensive parenting agreement that's designed to keep you and your ex-spouse on the same page.

A parenting agreement is designed to outline the details associated with raising your children with your ex-spouse in the future. This can include but is not limited to the following:

  • Where the child will live
  • If one or both parents will have legal custody
  • A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
  • A schedule outlining where your children will spend holidays, vacations, birthdays and any other special occasions
  • How contact with extended family will work
  • Language regarding how to make changes in the future
  • Information on how to handle disputes

Court approval is a must

Regardless of how you arrive at a parenting agreement, it's typically submitted to a family law judge for final approval. Without this, you'll find it difficult for your agreement to hold up in court.

For example, if you work out a parenting agreement in mediation, your mediator may be able to submit the necessary documentation to the court for approval.

Depending on the circumstances, the court may request that you attend an informal hearing for the judge to ask you basic questions about the agreement. This helps ensure that you and your ex understand the agreement, what you're signing and what's expected of you in the future.

Violation of a parenting agreement

Once you have a parenting agreement in place, get into the habit of following the terms and conditions no matter what it takes.

Violating a parenting agreement is a big deal, as it can result in a variety of consequences, such as a modification that doesn't suit your wants and needs. You can't control what your ex-spouse does in regard to the agreement, but you can set the personal goal of never violating it.

With a comprehensive parenting agreement guiding you after divorce, it's easier to protect your legal rights while providing your children with a stable living environment and relationship with both parents.

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