What is a Parenting Agreement?
A Parenting Agreement may also be known as a Custody Agreement, a Custody and Visitation Agreement, a Co-Parenting Agreement, or a Parenting Agreement. It goes by many different names but it is basically a document that both spouses negotiate and agree on regarding the custody of their children after a divorce. The parenting agreement is usually included in the divorce decree, or a Separation Agreement if the parties were not married.
The Parenting Agreement will generally cover such topics as:
- Where the child(ren) will live
- The child(ren)’s visitation schedule
- What times and what days the child(ren) will be in which parent’s house
- How the major holidays will be divided between the parents
- How vacations and birthdays will be shared between the parents
- The parents’ right to communicate with their children when they are with the other parent
- The parents’ right to information from the children’s school or medical records
- How changes to the agreement may be made by both parents.
Parenting Agreements are a good idea for the parties to have as it gives the parents and the children consistency and predictability related to the visitation schedule. This is a big help in relieving some of the anxiety and the stress that children are dealing with while their parents are going through a divorce.
Once a parenting agreement has been signed by the judge and filed with the court, it becomes a binding court order, which parties must follow and abide by. The failure to abide by the agreement can result in the guilty party being held in contempt of court. This can have negative consequences related to visitations for the party who is not abiding by the agreement. For example, a party who is not returning the child(ren) at the time that they’re supposed to return them, or the parent who takes the children out of the state for longer periods than they were supposed to, can face consequences where the court can minimize the time that they can spend with the child(ren).
It’s generally very beneficial to divorced parents and children of divorce to have a parenting agreement in place. It’s also important to abide by the agreement. Like I stated before, make it a better, easier, and more predictable expectation for all the parties involved.
If you are considering divorce or have questions about your current parenting agreement, contact our office to speak with an experienced family law attorney. Our office can be reached at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by scheduling a consultation online.