Overview of parenting agreements

Some parents in North Carolina who are going through a divorce or separation are usually able to agree on a custody arrangement outside of court. Many reach an agreement about child custody through informal negotiations while other parents use more formal mediation or collaborative law processes to settle their issues.

Once an agreement about child custody issues has been reached, parents generally finalize the agreement by creating a document called a parenting agreement. A parenting agreement is a detailed written plan about child custody issues that is personalized for each family’s unique circumstances. In general, a parenting agreement will include information about where children will live, with whom children will spend holidays and birthdays and how major decisions in the children’s lives will be made.

After a parenting agreement has been created, the document can be presented to a judge so that it can be converted into a legally binding court order. Before approving the agreement, a judge might ask each parent whether he or she has signed the agreement voluntarily. In a majority of cases, a judge will approve a parenting agreement as long as the agreement was fairly negotiated by both parties.

A parent who is having a difficult time communicating with their spouse about child custody issues in a divorce might want to have representation from an attorney. Whether a parent is able to negotiate an agreement outside of court or a court hearing becomes necessary, an attorney may be able to help represent the parent’s position on child custody matters. An attorney may also be able to help a parent to enforce a previously written parenting agreement that is not being honored by their ex-spouse.