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What if we agree on what happens with our child?
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.
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.
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.