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What if we agree on what happens with our child?

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What if we agree on what happens with our child?
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What if we agree on what happens with our child?
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Reviewed: 
March 1, 2021
Answer

As of March 1, 2021, the term custody has changed to decision-making responsibility. And in most situations, the term access has changed to parenting time. Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn’t a parent or step-parent may get a contact order to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

If you and your partner agree on decision-making responsibility, parenting time, and parenting arrangements, you can put what you've agreed on in a parenting plan or separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.

Your agreement can deal with only decision-making responsibility and parenting time alone, or can include other things like child support, spousal support, and dividing property.

You don't have to wait until you and your partner agree on everything before making a separation agreement. You can make an agreement on the things you agree on, while working on other issues.

You can make an agreement if you're married or in a common-law relationship.

There are some good reasons to make an agreement:

  • It can be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court.
  • It lets you and your partner decide what works best for you and your family.
  • It lets others involved in your children's care, such as their school, daycare, and doctor, know what you and your partner have agreed to.
  • It's easier to prove what you and your partner agreed on if you have a written rather than a verbal agreement.

You can talk to a lawyer who can give you advice about the rules your agreement needs to follow to make it legal. If you can't afford to hire a lawyer, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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