When you decide to divorce, you know it will impact you, your ex and your children in a variety of ways. But rather than give in to this and hope for the best, you can create a parenting agreement that affords both parents the opportunity to have a clear understanding of their role, responsibilities and legal rights moving forward.
Creating a parenting agreement in mediation gives you more control over the process, as there is no family law judge making decisions on your behalf. Instead, it's up to you and your spouse to negotiate on child custody related issues and compromise when necessary.
Things to include in a parenting agreement
Even though you have the legal right to modify your parenting agreement in the future, it's best to get it right the first time around. There is no shortage of details to include in a parenting agreement, with these among the most important:
- If one or both parents will have legal custody
- Which parent will have physical custody
- A visitation schedule for the parent who does not have physical custody
- A calendar outlining where your children will spend events throughout the year, such as holidays and birthdays
- An outline for resolving disputes and making future changes to the agreement
Approval by a family law court
Even if you and your ex are comfortable with the terms and conditions of the parenting agreement, it will still go to a local family law court for final approval by a judge.
If everything checks out, you'll receive a final approval and a court order will go into effect. Keep in mind that the judge may ask you to attend an informal court hearing to discuss the agreement and ensure that you understand it.
Don't violate your parenting agreement
As a legally binding court order, you don't want to mess around with your parenting agreement. Following the terms and conditions at all times is a must, as a violation could result in your ex taking legal action against you.
If you find that your ex isn't taking the agreement seriously, it's time to discuss your concerns, ask questions and learn more about your legal rights in Colorado. You don't want their actions to harm your ability to maintain a healthy and meaningful relationship with your children.