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How does a parenting agreement work?

Let's face it: going through a divorce makes a root canal seem like a day at the beach. After all, the basis of a divorce is the fact that two people can no longer coexist as a couple. Typically, both sides dig in and prepare for a long, drawn-out battle against one another. However, collaborative law takes a different approach, giving the splitting couple a chance to work things out before they go to court, where things can get really complicated.

In a collaborative law or mediation situation, each soon-to-be-former spouse typically hires a family law attorney who specializes in this area. The couple then sits down and tries their best to work out agreements on all the main points of a divorce like alimony, property division and child support. A parenting agreement specifically deals with the matter of child custody, covering a host of details. When drafting a parenting agreement, here are a few questions to keep in mind:

  • Where will the child (or children) live? This is otherwise known as physical custody.
  • When, where and how often will the non-custodial parent be able to visit?
  • Will one or both parents be responsible for the decisions impacting the child's life and future? This is called legal custody, not to be confused with physical custody.
  • Where will the child go for holidays, vacations and birthdays?

Of course, there are plenty of other issues. That's why it may be a good idea to have an attorney by your side to help you make sure all of your bases are covered.

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