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Understanding the role of a parenting agreement

Most Illinois parents who have young children and who are ending their marriage are able to resolve child custody matters on their own. A parenting agreement may be created through informal talks between the parents themselves or with the assistance of their attorneys. Mediation sessions may also be valuable in helping parents resolve child custody matters without going to court.

Such an agreement is put into writing and submitted to a judge for approval. Most judges will approve any agreement parents create on their own assuming that it was negotiated in good faith and both parties fully understand what they agreed to. Once the parenting agreement is entered into the public record, it is binding on both parties. A parent who violates the agreement could face serious consequences.

The agreement itself should determine who the child will live with, who the child will stay with on major holidays and who makes important decisions about the child. It may also be a good idea to determine ahead of time how the agreement can be changed or altered if necessary. While these are common issues that parents may face, a parenting agreement can be as broad or as specific as the parents want it to be.

Parents who are going through the divorce process may want legal assistance in creating an agreement that caters to the best interest of the child. In many cases, this may mean that both parents will be in the child's life regardless of how a mother and father may feel about each other.

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