How to Create a Parental Agreement

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 commonly included.

  • 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 your children.
  • 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 today.