If you are divorcing from your spouse and you have children together, your
attorney will ask you to create a parental agreement. To understand how
to create a parental agreement, you must first understand what the parental
agreement is and how it affects your children and the other parent.
What is a parental agreement?
A parental agreement is the finalized written agreement between you and
your ex-spouse regarding the
custody of your children. Parental agreements are used when a divorcing couple
in a custody dispute is able to resolve their disagreements through compromise
or negotiation through
mediation or another means of alternative dispute resolution.
What information should be included in my parental agreement?
Your parental agreement should outline important details regarding how
you and your ex plan to co-parent your children. While every case has
a different parental agreement, the following pieces of information are
Physical custody: Physical custody determines where the child will live. You can decide for
your child to live full-time with one parent, or share physical custody.
Legal custody: Legal custody determines which parent will have a say in major decisions
for your child’s life. Which school will he or she attend, decisions
about religious upbringing and extracurricular activities are all included
in this portion of your parenting plan.
Details on medical and health care: You and your ex will have to discuss which health care plan to include
your children. Will you split the monthly cost of health care coverage?
Are their specific treatments one parent objects to?
How exchanges will be handled: Create an exchange that works best for you both, but also is smooth on
Parenting rules: If you have rules on which foods your child can and cannot eat, or specific
bedtimes, or discipline guidelines, your parental agreement would be the
place to include them.
Visitation schedules: If one parent has sole physical custody, create the visitation guidelines
that will work for your family.
Holiday schedules: Whether you share the holidays, switch off even and odd years, or choose
fixed holidays, including a predetermined plan will ensure no parent goes
more than one year without seeing their child for that holiday.
Once you and your ex have created your parental agreement, it should be
submitted to a judge for approval. At your hearing, the judge will ask
if both parties willingly agree to the terms of the child custody agreement.
If the judge is satisfied by both parents and the terms outlined in the
agreement, they will approve the agreement. Through even the most contentious
divorces, a parental agreement can save you time and stress down the road.
Contact our Westlake Village divorce attorney to discuss your parent agreement