Parenting agreements address significant concerns affecting children and commonly include provisions governing visitation, legal custody, holiday schedules, contact with grandparents and procedures for handling parental disputes, according to FindLaw. The specific terms vary widely depending upon the needs of the family. The agreements need to take into account the varying needs of children based on age and should not seek to provide parents with equal parenting time, advises Huffington Post.
Parenting agreements must emphasize quality of parenting time above quantity to further children's best interests, according to Huffington Post. Children younger than 3 should not have overnight visits with noncustodial parents given their limited ability to cope with stress. Instead, parents must ensure that young children have regular contact with the noncustodial parent.
Parenting agreements need to focus on the school-age children's educational needs, including participation in extracurricular activities, according to the Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Development. Parents should arrange visitation schedules to minimize disruption to school-related activities and provide children with the security necessary for them to plan such activities confidently. Adolescents need access to both parents and a reasonable degree of freedom to make choices regarding living arrangements.
Parenting agreements help to reduce conflict after a divorce by setting clear expectations, explains Nolo. Judges commonly sign the agreements, making them enforceable in courts. Securing the assistance and advice of mediators, child therapists and other experts is particularly helpful in devising a workable parenting agreement.