Building a strong parenting agreement to protect your rights
Fighting for your rights as a father can feel like an uphill battle, especially if your child's other parent fights against you. The time that you spend with your child is an irreplaceable treasure, and you should always protect it carefully. For many parents, this begins with the parenting agreement.
A parenting agreement represents how two parents agree to raise their child separately, including behavior guidelines for both parents and remedies in the event that one or both parents violate these boundaries. If you want to keep your parental rights secure after divorce, you must have a strong parenting agreement.
Parenting agreements provide a road map for parents as they raise their child after separation or divorce. A weak agreement does little to enforce boundaries or may fail to address whole areas of conflict.
In order to protect yourself and provide safe, reasonable environments for your child, your parenting agreement should discuss a number of issues. These include where the child will spend most of their time, how both parents plan to address issues like medical care, education and faith practices, and how parents may resolve disagreements about these issues when they arise.
It is wise to approach your parenting plan carefully so that you do not miss any important areas where conflict may come up over time, especially parenting time interference.
One of the most important portions of any parenting agreement outlines remedies that apply when one or both parents violate the guidelines the agreement lays out. Some parents look for any way that they may undermine the other parent or make their time with their child less engaging or fulfilling. A strong parenting agreement addresses this behavior directly and provides remedies that may apply if one parent behaves in this way.
As you work through your parenting agreement, be sure to express clearly that each parent must respect the rights of the other parent, especially those surrounding time with the child and autonomy to make parenting decisions. Without clarifying these points, you may have fewer options to protect your rights if your child's other parent violates them.
A well-built parenting agreement provides an outline both parents may use to navigate the complicated world of raising a child, but no document can substitute for your commitment to the child you love. Be sure to use all the tools you have to create an agreement that meets your child's needs and protects your rights, both now and in the future.