Getting a divorce is rarely easy. Splitting couples have multiple issues to contend with, and oftentimes they are muddled with heated emotions, heartbreak and a sense of insecurity. To make matters worse, many couples find themselves having to discuss the drama of their marriage with a judge who ultimately makes several decisions regarding marriage dissolution issues. However, this does not always have to be the way these issues play out.
Child custody, for example, can be settled between two parents without having to discuss the matter before a judge. In fact, parents can sit down and come up with a parenting agreement that spells out their rights in a way that is agreeable, fair and clear.
So, what can a custody agreement cover? Many things. These agreements should spell out which parent has physical custody, meaning with which parent the child will live. It should also discuss whether both parents will have legal custody of the child. Legal custody means having the ability to make major decisions for the child, such as those that pertain to medical treatment and education. Other issues that can be addressed include how extended family contact will play out, the creation of a visitation schedule, where the child will be for major holidays and birthdays and how the agreement can be modified in the future, if necessary.
Although coming to an agreement may allow a couple to avoid airing their dirty laundry in court, they will have to have the agreement approved by a judge. However, negotiating child custody can save time and avoid animosity, and allow the couple to move on with life knowing that their child's best interests are protected.
Source: FindLaw, "The Parenting Agreement," accessed on Sept. 6, 2015