When a divorce is not overly contentious, the divorcing couple is often able to work out a parenting agreement outside of court for their child or children.
This agreement covers such things as custody and visitation, holiday visits, transportation, childcare and education, medical decisions and more.
At Galbraith Family Law our lawyers are highly experienced in creating parenting agreements that satisfy both parties and that ensures that all important details are covered.
To learn much more about how we can help you get a comprehensive and highly effecting parenting agreement, call (705) 302-1102 (Barrie) or (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket) or click here to schedule a consultation.
What You Need to Know About a Parenting Agreement
The agreement can be as detailed or simple as you and the other parent would like it to be. Basic information that is typically included in the agreement include custody and visitation schedule, along with alternating holidays it that is being done, financial responsibilities other than child support, transportation, medical decisions, educational decisions and any other life decisions that one or both of the parents deem important.
If you and the co-parent have conflicts over parts of the agreement or you just want to make sure everything is spelled out correctly, a skilled lawyer from Galbraith Family Law can help.
We can help you work on a parenting plan to enter as part of your divorce agreement. Our decades of experience ensure you won’t leave out any important details, and we’ll fight for your rights as a parent.
What is Typically Covered in a Parenting Agreement?
Custody and visitation
Here the agreement will explain if one parent is going to have primary physical custody or if the parents will be sharing joint custody. If joint custody is planned, the agreement will also detail the amounts of time the children will spend with each parent.
One key to remember here is that once an agreement is finalized, it cannot be modified without going back to court. Our parenting agreement lawyers can always help you with modifying an order should circumstances change in the future.
This is another important consideration that is typically addressed in the parenting agreement. Where will children spend the holidays? Will there be a schedule rotation? You should also think about other important dates like birthdays, vacations, religious holidays, traditional family gatherings and more.
If you and your ex-spouse live close together you could even split a holiday like Christmas eve at one house and Christmas day at another.
This is an important consideration as transportation of children is often a contentious issue for parents. In this part of the agreement, who drives whom and where and when will be defined. It could cover things like transporting kids to school and extracurricular activities and pick up and drop off locations for when kids are changing from one house to the other under the visitation agreement. You could also cover travel details and costs if parents live a longer distance apart.
Childcare and education
Here the educational needs of the kids will be covered. For example, if school tuition is required the agreement will explain who pays what. Other decisions made here could include who picks the school that the child will attend. You could also set rules for who is allowed to care for the children outside of school (for example, grandparents, babysitters, etc.).
Who will make medical decisions for the child are detailed here. Often parents will make healthcare decisions about their child together but in the case of emergency situations that may not be possible and so it will need to be spelled out that one or both parents are allowed to make emergency decisions. Parents of children with special needs may want to get more specific with general medical instructions and decisions as well.
Parenting agreements can also address how much each parent is expected to contribute to a child’s college education. Parents may also outline savings for things like orthodontics, travel or vehicles.
If religion (or lack of religion) is important to one or more of the parents it can also be addressed in the parenting agreement. If a parent is deeply religious they may want to include detailed plans around religious education and participation. If a parent is not religious at all they may not want the child exposed to religion until he or she is older.
Another area that may need to be addressed in the parenting agreement is when and how parents and children can communicate with each other. Older kids have cell phones and if one parent plans on limiting screen time, the other parent may need to limit when they communicate with the child. These limitations can be spelled out in the parenting agreement.
One more thing to consider when completing a parenting agreement is how each parent wants the child to maintain relationships with other family members, including stepsiblings, grandparents, cousins and other close family members. Parents may also want to set ground rules about how their or their ex’s dating partners are introduced to the children.
What is the Best Way to Create a Parenting Agreement That Works?
There is a lot to consider when creating a parenting agreement and we can make sure that nothing important is left out. And even if you and your co-parent are having disagreements over certain areas of the plan we can help you come to an understanding or we can work with a mediator to help you achieve your goals.
We understand that there is a lot that goes into creating a good parenting agreement and we will work closely with you to ensure you get a plan that you can live with.
Our extensive experience in this area has taught us that every family is unique – that’s why we will get to understand your needs and concerns and then work with you to design a plan that’s mutually agreeable for everyone.
Call (705) 302-1102 (Barrie) or (289) 802-2433 (Newmarket) or click here to schedule a consultation.