As you move through the divorce process, there's a good chance that you want nothing more than to finish things off as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when you take this approach, it's possible that you could overlook something of importance.
A well thought out and mutually acceptable parenting agreement can go a long way in preventing future problems. It's not always easy to settle on the details of an agreement, but once you do so you'll feel better about your ability to raise your children.
In mediation, you can work through all of your custody-related disputes. As you do so, the information is added to your parenting agreement for future use. Some of the things that most divorcing couples include are:
- With which parent the child will live
- Which parent has legal custody (or if both parents will share this responsibility)
- A visitation schedule so the non-custodial parent can spend time with their children
- A schedule to determine where the children will spend special events, holidays and vacations
The most comprehensive parenting agreements also have language about dealing with future disputes and changes.
For example, if one parent wants to change the visitation schedule, maybe because their work hours are no longer the same, it's something that requires negotiation and compromise. Including a system for tackling such changes can help move things along should the time come.
Violation of a parenting agreement
Just because two people settle on a parenting agreement in mediation doesn't mean that both of them will follow the terms and conditions in the future.
For instance, your ex-spouse may continually violate the agreement by refusing to drop your children off for visits at the agreed upon time.
If a violation occurs, you should start by asking the other parent what happened. You may find that there was nothing more than a misunderstanding.
In the event of continual issues, it's time to review your parenting agreement in great detail and learn more about your legal rights.
It's never easy to deal with child custody issues, create a parenting agreement and follow it day in and day out. However, if you're successful in doing so, it's much easier to raise your children and get along with your ex-spouse along the way.