Your Custody Agreement Should Answer These Important Questions
Your custody agreement outlines how you wish to co-parent your child with your ex. Fully understanding your own priorities with respect to the care of your child can go a long way to resolving disputes.
This means that in negotiations, you’re not ‘shooting from the hip’. You’ve considered the options, and you’re prepared to let the little stuff go. If you compromise a little, you’ll often find your ex is willing to do the same.
Why is a Parenting Plan Necessary for a Custody Agreement?
A parenting plan uncovers many potential disputes before they arise, and seeks to address them early. This effectively puts and end to the arguments that can make life harder for your child.
With both parents knowing what is expected of them and when, it can be easier to navigate the the tough job of parenting together.
What if My Ex and I Don’t Agree?
You likely won’t agree on every point – and that’s the point! The custody agreement is a document that prevents dispute later on, by detailing how the parenting of your child will be conducted.
There are two great options to try when working out the details of a custody agreement:
Collaborative Team Practice (CTP)
In collaborative team practice, both sides commit to resolving their dispute outside of a courtroom. Both sides are educated about the range of outcomes by their team of lawyers and open communication is encouraged. Each side works with a Family Coach to assist with working out the details of a parenting plan that best suits the interests of the child. With CTP, there’s a good chance of an outcome that is more positive for both parties and this results in a more harmonious relationship and is beneficial for your child.
In mediation, the separating couple works with an independent third party to help them negotiate a workable agreement. The mediator will not give legal advice and does not act as a judge. A skilled mediator asks questions to clearly articulate each person’s stance and reports on these findings, which are then taken to each person’s lawyer. The lawyer then provides legal advice, and if the parties are still in agreement, then a separation agreement is drafted.
Whichever route you go to settle a custody agreement with your ex, the end goal is always the same: to lessen the hardship on your children. By keeping that in mind you can make the whole process better for everyone involved.
If you’re looking for more information on child custody and support, read our Ontario Child Support 101 article, or find answers to your top Family Court questions on our Complete Guide to Navigating the Family Court Process.
Start the process here, with our Parenting Plan Checklist.