It may not be easy, but most divorcing couples are able to resolve child custody issues in mediation. When doing so, your primary goal is to create a parenting agreement that will govern the rights of each parent in the future.
Since a parenting agreement is legally binding, you don’t want to agree to anything that could put you and/or your children in a worse position in the future.
With the ability to customize a parenting agreement, you can work closely with the other parent to decide on things such as:
- Which parent will have physical custody
- Which parent will have legal custody
- A visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- A schedule outlining where the children will spend holidays, vacations and birthdays
The most comprehensive parenting agreements also include language on how to deal with future disputes and changes. Don’t assume that everything will remain status quo in the future, as your situation is likely to change. For example, as your children age, they may not have as much time to spend with both parents. This will call for a change to the parenting agreement.
Court approval is required
Once you settle on the terms of the parenting agreement, it’s submitted to a family law judge for final approval.
Depending on the details, the judge may request an informal hearing to ensure that both parents understand the agreement and their role moving forward.
Violating a parenting agreement is a big deal
Since a parenting agreement is a legally binding court order, it’s critical to follow every last detail. There may be times when you ask the other parent for some flexibility, and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, neither parent should get into the habit of violating the agreement.
If your ex-spouse continually violates the parenting agreement, discuss this with them to see what’s going on. Bringing the issue to light is often the best way to get the person back on track.
If the situation doesn’t improve, learn more about your legal rights. You don’t want to let your ex get away with this, as it can harm your relationship with your children, while adding unnecessary stress to your life.