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3 essentials for a peaceful future with your co-parent

If you're in the process of divorcing the other parent of your children, you and your soon-to-be ex will need to agree on vital issues relating to your future co-parenting relationship. These issues relate to child custody, parenting time, child support, how you will navigate child exchanges and how you will navigate disputes if and when they arise.

When you come to agreement on these issues, perhaps through a divorce mediation process, you will codify the issues you've agreed to in a carefully drafted parenting agreement. Here's what a responsible co-parent should be sure to include in such an agreement:

Which parent has physical custody?

The parents need to answer this most important question about child custody, which determines who the children are going to live with. Some modern divorces result in the children living 50 percent of the time with each parent. In many cases, though, shared physical custody isn't possible.

A schedule for child visitation

When one parent has sole physical custody, the parents will need to include a suitable visitation schedule for the other parent within the parenting agreement.

Holiday sharing arrangements

How to share holidays could become a point of serious disagreement, so parents should indicate in their parenting plans exactly how holidays will be divided between them. Many parents choose an every-other holiday schedule. Also, be sure to include a guide for dividing three-day weekends and spring and summer break.

Your parenting agreement is one thing you don't want to rush in your divorce. It is the key to ensuring you have a healthy relationship with your co-parent. It will also help you and your ex-spouse avoid potential areas of co-parent disagreements while being the best caregivers of your children that you can be.

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