Going through divorce can certainly be challenging for adults, but it can be just as unsettling for any children involved. After all, just as you may feel that your world is spinning out of control during a divorce, your child may feel powerless and apprehensive about his or her future.

However, many cases involving child custody during a marital breakup can be resolved outside of court. Here is a look at the valuable role that a parenting agreement can play in your divorce proceeding in Minnesota.

What exactly are parenting agreements?

If you and your future ex-spouse can engage in informal negotiations and resolve your child custody and visitation issues, you can finalize your decisions in a parenting agreement. This settlement agreement between divorcing parents covers the following key areas:

  • Who will have physical custody of your child (or where your child will live)
  • Who will have legal custody of your child (or who will make major decisions concerning your child’s welfare and rearing)
  • How you and your future ex will handle your child’s contact with various third parties, such as grandparents and family friends
  • How you and your future ex will handle visitation
  • Who will spend time with your child during major holidays as well as on vacations and birthdays

Your parenting agreement can also address how you and the other party plan to handle disputes related to the agreement, particularly if one of you feels that you should change a part of the agreement.

The court will approve your parenting agreement

Once you and your future ex-spouse have drafted a written parenting agreement, you will likely have to submit this document to the court for a judge’s final approval. Afterward, you may have to take part in an informal hearing where you answer a judge’s questions about the agreement. For example, the judge may want to verify that you signed the agreement voluntarily and that you understand everything included in the document.

If the judge is happy with your and your future ex-spouse’s answers and feels that you negotiated the agreement fairly, he or she will approve it. After finalizing your marital breakup, both you and the other party must comply with what you have set out in the parenting agreement to avoid legal consequences. If the other party ends up violating the agreement at some point, you have the right to proceed to court to ensure that the agreement is enforced in Minnesota.