What Are Parenting Agreements?

When a couple separates and/or divorces, they must have a plan of action to care for the needs and lives of their children. Disputes between the parents often lead to them giving up and letting the courts decide. This is not in your best interest. The court does not know your lifestyle, hobbies, problems, or special needs. They reduce the problems down to percentages and decide based on those numbers. This typically leaves both parents less than happy with the decision.

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Working out a parenting agreement

When each parent and their attorneys put their heads together to find a workable plan, they define and create their personal parenting agreement. This is legally binding and is advised as a way to customize the visitation and other time and financial considerations. Here are some of the issues addressed and rectified in the parenting agreement.

Child custody

This determines who has primary custody of the child/children. The parent with primary custody has the child more than 50% of the time. They are responsible for their well-being, medical issues, educational needs, and other activities.

If the parents decide to share custody of the child, they will work out a schedule where each parent has equal time with the child, and each parent has equal responsibilities.

In either case, a workable and acceptable time schedule or calendar must be designed in legal terms and presented to the judge. Your attorney will handle the wording and submission of the agreement to the court.


Your parenting agreement is more than a casual agreement. Great care must go into allowing the child to maintain their daily life with as little disruption as possible. You will schedule:

  • Daily life as in who will take the child to school and who will pick him or her up. This also includes extracurricular activities such as football, dance class, and play time with friends.
  • A holiday schedule for all holidays when the child is not in school
  • Vacation schedule
    • This includes any issues addressed about where the child can and cannot go and who they can or cannot go with. For example, if you come to an agreement that the child cannot travel outside the country with grandparents without the permission of both parents.


This is something that must be discussed and agreed upon. If one parent says no football unless the grades are above a B average, but the other parent ignores that and lets him or her play anyway, there will always be friction and your child will suffer for it.

Decide on techniques

  • Discipline
  • Timeout plans
  • Restriction
  • Removal of possessions

Define the rules

  • A child cannot follow the rules if they do not know what the rules are. Define them in detail and make sure both parents are in agreement.

NOTE: While creating a formal parenting agreement will benefit everyone, keep the child’s needs first and foremost in the plan. If they will be pulled out of activities due to visitation restrictions, or if they have to go to a different school, or live with other family members, this could create emotional damage. For more information, talk to our child support attorneys today.