In the event of a child custody dispute, it's only natural to believe that you'll end up in court at some point in time. While this could happen, here's something to remember: A large number of disputes are resolved before the case ever goes to court.
With the help of a parenting agreement, you can work through all the details of child custody outside of court. This doesn't mean you will never disagree with the other parent, but it does mean that you have the ability to work things out without heading to court.
Although no two couples draft the exact same type of parenting agreement, there are some details you must consider including:
-- The parent who will have physical custody (this is where the child will live)
-- Details associated with legal custody (who will make key decisions, such as those pertaining to health care)
-- Visitation schedules, such as where the child will spend vacations and major holidays
-- Contact with other family members, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles
-- How to handle disputes
While these are among the most common details to touch on in a parenting agreement, there are others that you can include. You need to know exactly what you are trying to accomplish, as to avoid a situation in which you miss out on something that could have an impact on you or your children in the future.
What About Court Approval?
Once you work out the finer details of a parenting agreement, it then goes to a judge for final approval. As long as the judge finds that everything checks out, there is a good chance that the agreement will receive approval. Best yet, you won't have to spend any time in court.
As you create a parenting agreement, focus on what's best for you and your child. Along with this, remember that you may need to compromise along the way as to push the process forward.
Final tip: Just because you agree to negotiate a parenting agreement out of court doesn't mean you are unable to consult with an attorney. You can still work closely with an attorney to ensure that you make the right decisions.