Creating a Parenting Agreement in North Carolina

As many divorcing parents are undoubtedly aware, an ending marriage can tremendously impact children. Many spouses in the Tar Heel State obviously want to limit these adverse effects as much as possible. One of the ways you can do this is rather straightforward: You can resolve the divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible, especially when it comes to matters regarding child custody. Children are under enormous stress when a custody battle becomes a long, bitter, and drawn-out affair. Sometimes, they blame themselves for being the center of a dispute. 

One of the ways you can resolve these matters quickly and efficiently is by creating a consent order. With the help of qualified divorce attorneys, both parties draft the written agreement and submit it to the courts. A judge then signs off on it, making the agreement legally enforceable. This approach comes with several significant benefits, resulting in a quicker, less expensive, and less contentious legal process. 

But creating a parenting agreement is no easy feat. Almost the entire process takes place outside of court, so both spouses and their attorneys need to be committed to reaching some sort of agreement. It is their responsibility to resolve their differences and come to a compromise, and this can be pretty challenging, especially when you consider the lingering emotional issues that might surround the divorce. Fortunately, a qualified, experienced collaborative divorce attorney can guide spouses to a favorable legal outcome. 

How Can Parents Handle Child Custody in North Carolina?

Aside from going to court and handling child custody issues in a trial, there are actually a few different ways in which parents can develop a custody plan:

  • Consent Orders are proposed and submitted to the court when parents settle cases without using mediators. These documents are signed by a judge, after which they essentially become court orders. This means that they are legally enforceable. In other words, future breaches may result in parents being held in contempt. A qualified attorney can help you draft a consent order, and this is one of the most popular approaches for parents who want to handle custody issues outside of court. 
  • Parenting Agreements are similar to consent orders, and they can be handled through private or court-ordered mediation. Again, the agreement is submitted to the court, at which point a judge will sign it. Afterward, the deal becomes a court order. However, it’s important to note that parenting agreements cannot include matters related to child support. 
  • Child Custody Agreements are more information compared to the above two examples, as they are not filed with the courts. These are essentially just private contracts between two consenting individuals. As such, they can be challenging to enforce. Child custody agreements are not court orders, as a judge never signs them. Because of this, parents often create very clear conditions that cover potential breaches of contracts. In the end, parents often have their child custody agreements turned into consent orders, making them more enforceable. One benefit of a child custody agreement is that it can cover matters related to child support. 
What Do I Need to Include?

When creating parenting agreements, consent orders, and child custody agreements outside of court, you generally need to cover the same basic information. This includes a visitation schedule that clearly states when each parent will spend time with their children. You will also need to decide whether parents will share joint legal custody or whether one parent will have sole legal custody. This will help establish whether both parents will make decisions related to the education, medical care, and religious activities of the children. You will also need to establish whether the parents will have joint physical custody. 

Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today

If you have been searching the North Carolina area for a collaborative divorce attorney, look no further than Arnold & Smith, PLLC. We understand that when dealing with children, striving for a stress-free divorce is essential. Children can suffer deepening psychological impacts with each passing day when a custody battle becomes drawn-out and contentious. A collaborative approach is much more “human” and civilized compared to fighting in court, and your children may take solace in seeing their parents cooperating in this manner. Book your consultation today, and you can create a parenting plan that serves everyone’s best interests - including those of your children.