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What Can Be Included in a Minnesota Parenting Agreement?

During the divorce process, parents often decide to work together with their attorneys to solve problems collaboratively. This helps reduce legal costs and also leaves more control in the hands of the parties involved. This control is especially important when the married couple has children. Rather than allowing a judge to make rulings about every aspect of how parents will share custody, manage visitation and make decisions about a child’s upbringing, the parents can work together to create a parenting agreement as part of their divorce.

A parenting agreement, also known as a parenting plan, is a document created through negotiation. It allows the parents to answer ahead of time many of the tough questions that often arise when physical and legal custody is jointly shared. Some of the topics that are typically covered in these agreements include:

  • Designation of decision-making authority. The plan will typically state who gets to make decisions about the child’s medical care, schooling and religious upbringing.
  • Primary residence. Parents generally decide where the child will live for the majority of the time.
  • A parenting time schedule. If custody is shared or if there will be visitation, the plan usually specifies how often and when visits will take place. The agreement can also contain decisions about how and where to transfer the children, what to do if a parent needs to make a change to the schedule, and how holidays will be handled.
  • The plan may contain agreements about who pays for sports, camp, school trips and other costs.

The more that is decided and written down during the negotiation of a parenting agreement, the less room there will be for conflict and misunderstanding later. All parenting plans must be approved by a family law judge, who will decide whether the plan takes the best interests of the children into account. Once the plan is approved, the agreement is binding and cannot be changed without further approval of a judge.

To learn more about the creation of parenting agreements, speak with an experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.

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