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Parenting agreements are vital parts of child custody cases

Going through a child custody case means putting your child's needs before your own. Because every child is different and every case is different, the decisions that have to be made in child custody cases aren't always easy. Many parents opt to make the decisions about child custody instead of leaving everything up to the court. When this occurs, the parents can work on a parenting agreement.

A parenting agreement is a negotiated settlement that sets forth what both parents agree will happen with child custody. This agreement covers a variety of aspects, including physical custody, parenting time, visitation and decision-making responsibilities. Even agreements about where the child will spend holidays can be included in the parenting agreement.

Generally, these agreements are developed through a collaborative law process. This means that both parents meet with their legal representation to discuss the wishes of each party. The process is informal and doesn't occur in the court. When an agreement is reached, it is put into writing.

After it is written, the parenting agreement is usually submitted to the judge. If the judge feels the agreement was negotiated in a fair manner and is in the best interests of the child, the judge will usually approve the agreement.

When a parenting agreement is approved, it is binding. This means that if the agreement is violated, the parent who violated the agreement might be taken to court to resolve the matter. In some cases, violating the parenting agreement might result in the agreement being converted into a court order. If that occurs, it can lead to serious consequences if it is continually violated.

Source: FindLaw, "The Parenting Agreement," accessed April. 03, 2015

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