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What should you include in your parenting agreement?

When going through a divorce, it's critical to think about the future well-being of any children you have with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. Through the creation of a parenting agreement, you can reduce the likelihood of unnecessary arguments and stress.

While it's important to create a parenting agreement, it's not always easy to do so. In addition to deciding what to include, you'll need to negotiate the terms and conditions with the other parent.

Some things you should absolutely include in your parenting agreement are as follows:

  • Where the child will live
  • A visitation schedule for the noncustodial parent
  • Who will make major decisions on behalf of the children (known as legal custody)
  • Where the child will spend vacations, birthdays, holiday trips and other life events
  • Language to determine how contact with extended family will occur

Some parenting agreements also outline how to handle future disputes and changes. For example, as your children age, you may need to alter the visitation schedule to ensure that both parents still have the appropriate amount of parenting time. Knowing how to make changes allows you to more easily take on this task.

Once the court approves the proposed parenting agreement, you'll need to follow the terms down to every last detail.

While it's easy enough to violate a court-approved parenting agreement, doing so can land you in hot water. If your ex-spouse continually violates the agreement, ask them if there is anything you can do to help them get back on track. If this doesn't work, you may have to take legal action to protect your rights.

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