In a divorce, all parents say they want what is best for their children.
In the short term, that's coming up with a parenting agreement that will suit the needs of each parent, keep the kids safe and secure and satisfy the court that Pennsylvania laws have been followed.
So, what is a parenting agreement?
It's a document that lays out decisions having to do with child visitation and custody, in short. The agreement should specify things such as:
- Which parent will have physical custody, meaning where the child lives?
- What is the schedule for visitation?
- Will both parents have legal custody, meaning both parents will make decisions about things such as school and religion?
- Where will the child spend holidays, vacations and birthdays?
- What amount of contact will the child have with others, including grandparents and extended family?
- How will the parenting agreement be modified?
These are typical factors but remember, they can be customized to each family's situation.
How is the parenting agreement enacted?
It is customary for a judge to give it final approval. If it is part of a divorce agreement, the parenting plan is part of the divorce filing. There could be a short court hearing so that a judge can be satisfied that the parenting agreement is fair and was drafted with the best interests of the child in mind.
A parenting agreement generally is binding and becomes a court order. If either parent fails to follow the agreement, they could be violating the order and face legal issues.
An experienced family law attorney in Pennsylvania can assist you in creating a parenting agreement that will keep both parents focused on what is best for the children.