Preliminary Parenting Agreements Can Take the Acrimony Out of Divorce

Love, marriage and a baby carriage can be a beautiful picture, but when there's a breakup, matrimony can quickly turn to acrimony - particularly when a former couple is fighting over the custody of a child.

No divorce is easy, especially when a child is involved, but parents can effectively work together to make the transition from one to two homes less traumatic for the little one. One way to accomplish this is by drafting a preliminary parenting agreement with your former spouse - which can smooth the process when it's time for the court to make decisions about what is in the best interest of the child.

When drafting a preliminary parenting agreement, parents should consider several issues. Keeping in mind that frequently moving from one home to another can be stressful for a child, parents should determine the logistics of physical custody and placement time. Questions that should be answered include:

  • Will one parent have the child most of the time or will the child's time be divided equally between both parents?
  • If one parent is awarded primary physical custody, how much time will the other parent spend with the child?
  • How will weekends and holidays be handled?
  • Who will provide transportation back and forth to each home?

In addition, open and honest communication is key when it comes to doing what's best for children after a divorce. It is beneficial for former spouses to agree beforehand how they should contact each other to discuss issues related to their child - as well as how they should contact the child between periods of physical parenting time.

Whether a preliminary parenting agreement is broad and detailed or only outlines a few issues, the process of drafting one can help parents communicate about necessary issues and better ensure that the court respects the wishes of both parents.

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