Did you know that a parenting agreement can help to reduce the conflict between parents with different attitudes to parenting. Being able to agree or agree to disagree is the foundation that effective co-parenting is based on. Take the time and make the effort to negotiate a parenting agreement and modify it as your children’s needs change.
What is a Parenting Agreement?
A parenting agreement is any agreement reached about the care and maintenance of a child. It really is that simple.
The hard part is getting to agreement. Interact Support has a number of services available to help you to reach agreement for the sake of your kids. Even if you have tried before and failed. It is worth trying again.
A parenting agreement doesn’t have to be in writing but we think you should make that effort.
Get down to the detail required to write down what you’re going to do. Get clear about when you’re going to do things and where the child will be sleeping, going to school and any other important information that is relevant to them.
Also talk about how you’ll deal with the inevitable times when what you plan to do doesn’t quite work out.
We recommend that you make your agreement in writing so that what is agreed is clear to you.
When do you need a Parenting Agreement?
We would recommend you reach a parenting agreement as soon as you decide to separate.
You can even negotiate a parenting agreement if you are experiencing conflict in your parenting and you don’t want to separate. You can have a parenting agreement even if you are still married and don’t want to divorce or separate.
Most people begin the process of getting a Parenting Plan with a Parenting Agreement. A Parenting Plan is a written, signed and dated Parenting Agreement.
Your Parenting Plan or Parenting Agreement can provide the basis for Consent Orders which are a binding agreement about parenting.
How do I get a Parenting Agreement?
If you don’t see eye to eye about parenting getting a Parenting Agreement can be difficult. That is why Family Dispute Resolution services are available.
They allow you to sit down in a respectful environment and talk about your different perspectives about what is in the best interests of your child or children. It is very common for parents to disagree about what is best for children.
You will have each been raised in very different households with parents who had different parenting styles. Some people really approve of how they were raised and others totally reject what they see as inadequate parenting and want things to be different for their children. Others don’t realize that the way they were treated as children wasn’t ideal and need extra help to parent in a way that maximises their child’s potential to grow up healthy and happy.
There are so many areas of potential conflict in parenting and there is no one right way to parent. Working with a FDR Practitioner can help you to identify where your styles are simply different but they can also provide you with research backed information about the needs of children at every stage in their development.
Getting out of conflict and on with your job as a parent
The benefit of a parenting agreement is that it is non-binding and gives you the opportunity to work on your parenting issues until you reach an agreement that works for your family. Once that is achieved you can lock it in (for now) with a Parenting Plan or Consent Orders.
The harder it is for you to speak with each other the more detailed your agreement should be as it avoids the need for future negotiation unless there is a major change in circumstances.
If there has been a lot of conflict in the past working together may be the last thing you want to do but your children are depending on you to act like an adult and give them a childhood where they can grow up feeling secure and develop their potential.
Find out more about our Family Mediation Services.