Child custody battles are some of the most challenging types of claims that family law lawyers assist their clients with. When parents are focusing on their child’s best interests they must be willing to cooperate and compromise when necessary. As a top child custody lawyer like one from the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright can explain, creating a co-parenting agreement allows each parent to clearly communicate their responsibilities and expectations concerning how their child will be raised. Read the tips below to learn about what a well-developed agreement should contain.
What Should Be Included in a Co-Parenting Agreement?
A co-parenting agreement is a legally binding document that parents can create if they are involved in a child custody case. Parents often choose to draft this agreement if they want to avoid further escalating a conflict by taking the matter to court. By clearly outlining information regarding their child’s needs, schedule, and the values they will be raised under, parents can avoid potential arguments. Things that can be included in a co-parenting agreement include:
- Visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent
- Guidelines for how parenting decisions are made
- The child’s educational requirements
- The child’s physical and mental health needs
- Financial expenses
Should I Hire a Mediator When Drafting an Agreement?
Though it’s always best when parents draft a co-parenting agreement together, it may be helpful to hire a mediator who can facilitate your discussions if you and your ex are unable to see eye to eye. A mediator listens to the argument of each party and makes recommendations on how possible solutions and guidelines in a parenting plan can be achieved. Discussions involving co-parenting can quickly get heated and the strong emotions of each parent can destabilize the process, so having an objective voice to level the conversation can be beneficial.
Mediation has multiple benefits, including fewer costs and a simplified legal process, unlike court. When parents work with a mediator, it signals to the child that their parents are able to set their pride and differences aside so they can identify a peaceful solution.
How is a Co-Parenting Agreement Approved?
Having a co-parenting agreement that is drafted and finalized by both parents helps to simplify the legal process in a child custody case. Judges often encourage both parents to help construct the agreement because they are the most knowledgeable about their child’s needs. It also helps to avoid any unnecessary conflicts in the courtroom and keeps them focused on the child’s best interests. If an agreement is written by both parents, a judge will review and approve the agreement.