Separation and divorce are never easy, especially when there are children involved.
If you’re struggling to agree on the future care and living arrangements for your children, mediation can help you draw up an agreement setting out the parenting arrangements for your children.
But before you do, here are 6 things you need to know about parenting agreements.
Parenting Agreements Can Be Oral, Written Or Formal
When it comes to parenting agreements, they can be created in several ways.
They can be verbal – agreed to orally by both parties.
Parenting agreements could be written – noted down between both parties and signed. These are generally called Parenting Plans.
They could also be done in a formal way through the Family Court – these are known as Parenting Orders and are finalised by submitting them for approval by the Family Court.
Parenting Orders can be submitted following a mutual agreement between parents who want to make their agreement binding and legally enforceable.
Your Children’s Needs Come First
No matter what your personal feelings, your children’s needs come first. In most cases, children are encouraged to maintain a relationship with both parents (unless there is evidence that this might not be in their best interests).
Consider what is best for them when it comes to living arrangements, schooling arrangements and who needs to carry out which duties as a parent.
There are some responsibilities that could be shared and, for some things, it might be best for one parent to take that on. Always make sure your children’s needs are considered first, before your own.
Children Need Time With Both Parents
Both parents are encouraged to keep their relationships with their children strong. This means that, despite your relationship breakdown, unless there is any indication that your children are in danger or not adequately cared for, the children need to spend time with both of you.
You might not want your ex to see them on certain days, at certain times, or even at all, but if it’s in the best interest of the child to maintain their relationship with the other parent, you should not try to prevent this. And, if you do, the Family Court may take a dim view of your behaviour.
Mutual Agreement Works Best For Everyone
If you and your ex can agree on the main issues regarding your children’s care, this is the best outcome for everyone.
Being stressed, arguing and fighting never does anyone any good, especially your kids. Try and keep things amicable and always remember who is at the heart of your decisions – the children.
Your Children Will Need Your Support
No matter what happens, your children are going to need your support.
Ideally, they will get support from both their parents and be reassured that, despite your relationship breakdown, nothing changes the way you feel about them.
You Can Get Help Drawing Up A Parenting Agreement
Are you overwhelmed at where to start and how to draw up a parenting agreement?
You don’t have to figure it out yourself or hire an expensive family lawyer to do the job for you. A mediator can help you and your ex work through your differences and come to a mutually agreeable conclusion.
Mediation can help you to come to an agreement regarding the care of your children and how to move forward with a Parenting Plan or draft Parenting Orders to file in the Family Court by agreement.