Many clients and their spouses agree to joint legal decision making of their children as a way of continuing both of their active participation in shaping the lives of their children. Although this agreement seems reasonable now, there is always the question of how it will work in the future.
Here are some important things to consider to make a joint legal decision making agreement successful:
A well-drafted parenting agreement will include many provisions providing guidelines to parents for continuing to work well together. Of utmost importance, you need to focus on continued positive communication.
In order to do that, you need inform each other in a timely manner about important matters in the children’s lives. This would include their progress in school, any health concerns, socialization issues, and extra-curricular activities. For example, it is imperative to keep each other advised, well in advance, of doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences, birthday parties, and other events of the children particularly where parent involvement is invited. If you would want to know about something, assume the other parent does, too.
You also need to keep each other updated on your own contact information including home, work and cellular telephone numbers, and email addresses. If you will be going out of town–whether or not the children will be going with you– you need to provide each other with specific contact information.
Remember to avoid involving the children in issues of financial or other disputes that may arise. Those are adult issues and, as loving parents, you will want to avoid burdening your children with them. Be certain to continue to speak only in positive terms regarding your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Of course, regardless of a parent’s best intentions, significant disputes may arise. Most parenting agreements will provide a procedure to resolve such conflicts. Typically, this involves the participation of a neutral third party such as an agreed upon mediator.
Your agreement for joint legal decision making already demonstrates your commitment to your children’s best interests.
Contact us at Hallier Stearns PLC for more information on how to execute a successful joint legal decision making situation.