When couples end their marriages, they typically want to keep matters out of the court as much as possible. When a Pennsylvania spouse decides to divorce, he or she doesn’t wish to get caught up in a seemingly endless round of litigation sessions. Many people can’t afford to take all that time off work, and they really just want to devise a solid plan that settles all the important issues, such as those involving co-parenting.

A benefit of writing a co-parenting agreement without going to court is that parents themselves are the ones making the decisions. Both spouses must be willing to cooperate. If they disagree on a particular issue, they must be willing to negotiate, compromise and search for common ground.

There are several common factors that most co-parenting agreements contain. One is a custody plan. The court typically believes shared custody is best for kids. If only one parent will have full-time custody, then a visitation schedule may also be included in the co-parenting plan. Legal custody issues must also be decided, and this type of custody differs from physical custody in that it refers to decision-making authority on behalf of the child or children involved.

Pennsylvania spouses can customize their co-parenting plans in divorce. Issues such as agreed-upon terms for grand-parent visits or how disagreements or changes in a written schedule will be handled can also be addressed in out-of-court sessions through mediation or the collaborative law process. The final draft of the proposed plan must meet with the court’s approval before it becomes legally enforceable.