Making parenting agreements

Florida couples with children who are divorcing may wish to try to reach an agreement about parenting before going to court. Although this is not always possible, sometimes parents are able to work with their attorneys to negotiate a parenting plan outside of court that they then submit to a judge.

This agreement is generally filed in the same branch of court as the divorce petition. Before final approval, the judge might call the parents for an informal hearing in which various points of the agreement are clarified. If the best interests of the child are observed and each parent appears to have to come to the agreement of their own individual accord, it will usually be approved.

A parenting agreement will probably cover a number of different topics. These may include which parent the child will live with and what visitation schedules will be like, what kind of contact the child will have with other relatives, who the child will spend major holidays with and who makes the decisions regarding issues like the child's education. The document may also cover how conflicts and changes in circumstances are handled.

Once the parenting agreement becomes a court order, parents are legally obligated to follow its guidelines. This means that a parent can go to court to make sure the agreement is enforced.

Because the parenting agreement is so important in protecting the rights of parents and children, a divorcing parent may wish to work with an attorney. Parents may feel that if they are splitting amicably, they do not need legal representation. However, attorneys may provide protection for both parents and children during a stressful time. They may be able to offer guidance on issues around support and child custody that parents have not considered as well as solutions to conflicts.

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