Cooperative parenting is a process whereby parents living apart agree to act jointly in the best interest of the children, by establishing two homes for them and by consulting with one another concerning the needs of the children and their own needs as co-parents.
The following is a co-parenting agreement that you may wish to agree to:
We agree to act as co-parents to our children as follows:
Both parents may attend any activities in which the children participate.
Either parent may enter the children into activities which occur exclusively during that parent’s custodial period and which do not involve the other parent’s time or money.
Neither parent may enter the children into any activity, which involves the other parent’s time or money without obtaining the other parent’s approval.
Information concerning minor medical or emergency medical procedures will be shared as soon as possible with the other parent.
Each parent will communicate with the other parent information about the children’s extra-curricular activities. This will include a schedule and the name and phone number of the activity leader if available.
Information concerning the children’s school data will be transferred between the parents. This will include report cards, progress reports, homework, information concerning school pictures, school programs in which the children participate, and parent related activities (parent-teacher conferences, back to school night, etc.).
Major decisions will be made jointly. This includes major medical, major dental, and psychological treatment, grade and special program placement, and change of schools.
The parties agree to meet in a calm, quiet, uninterrupted environment to discuss any child custody or childcare problem. The parties will meet jointly with physicians, educators, psychologists, law enforcement authorities, or other professionals as needed to work toward any custody or child behavior problem.
This provision does not preclude either parent from meeting separately with such professionals, but each will inform the other of such meetings in advance whenever possible, and always as soon as possible.
Each parent will give full written authorization to the other to obtain any information concerning any counseling, treatment, or other records.
If the parties cannot resolve a dispute under this agreement by separate discussion and negotiation, then as a condition precedent to seeking a court order of any kind, the parties will mediate their dispute with a mediator, or another having expertise in family and child custody issues agreed upon by the parties. The parties will bear this expense equally.
STATEMENT OF RESPECT
- Neither party will denigrate or demean the character or behavior of the other in the presence of the children, but will generally rather refer to the other parent with respect.
- We will share in both the joys and the burdens of raising our children as we share in the decision making processes related to their health, education, religious training, recreational activities, and general well being.
- Although there may be disagreements between us, we will not permit them to be inflicted upon our children. We acknowledge that we are both good people who are simply unable to live together. We believe that every child should have in his or her mind an image of two good parents, and we will work toward that end.
- We will leave our children free to love and respect both of us. We will not discuss the shortcomings of the other parent in front of the children, nor permit others to do so.
- We will work toward maintaining a friendly relationship and will try to be considerate of each other’s feelings and concerns.
- We will not use our tiffle with our children as an excuse to continue arguments between us.
- When either of us is with our children, we will be discreet if we are including others with whom we may be involved.
- We will make the period of time with our children a normal experience. Every time we are together does not have to be “Disneyland” for them.
- In planning time with the children, especially as they become older, we will be sure to consider their needs and wishes.
- We will make the time with our children as pleasant as possible by showing our interest in their activities and avoiding questions regarding the activities of the other parent. Also, we will not make promises to them unless we know that we can keep them.
- Each parent will notify the other as soon as possible if he or she is unable to keep the agreed upon schedule, as failure to give notice is unfair to the other parent and the children.
- Neither parent will schedule activities which conflict with the other parents custody, however, if one parent has plans for the children that are conflicting, and these plans are in the best interests of the children, we will be adult, and arrive at an agreeable resolution.
- The parent with whom the children have’ just been living will prepare the children both physically and emotionally for spending time with the other parent, and have them available at the time agreed upon.
- WE WILL ACKNOWLEDGE AND RESPECT ANY DIFFERENCES WE HAVE IN OUR PARENTING TECHNIQUES AND ATTEMPT TO RECONCILE THOSE DIFFERENCES, AS WE WORK TOGETHER FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF OUR CHILDREN.