Developing a parenting plan that works for the family and is in the best interests of the child is an important and primary concern for most couples facing child custody concerns or divorce proceedings. Child custody agreements can be worked out in a variety of different ways, including through negotiation between the parents; alternative dispute resolution, such as the mediation process; or by going to court. In general, divorcing couples are always encouraged to resolve as many divorce-related concerns as possible without the need for the litigation of disputes so whenever that is possible it is desirable.
The divorce settlement includes a parenting or custody agreement that will govern child custody issues. Agreements reached by the parents are included in the final child custody agreement. Child custody agreements commonly include where the child will live; schedules for visitation; who will be involved in making significant decisions for the child such as their education, healthcare and religious upbringing; schedules for holidays, birthdays and vacations; how contact with extended family members and others will be handled; and how any disputes or modifications to the agreement will be addressed.