Shared Parenting Agreement
This agreement is made this ____ day of ______________, 20__, by and between ______________________________ and _____________________________.
In consideration of the promises made to each other, and in consideration of our mutual contributions toward the [creation by in vitro fertilization; artificial insemination] or [adoption] of a child [born] or [adopted] on the ____ day of ____________, 20__, and in acknowledgement that state law is unsettled in this area of parental rights, and in acknowledgement of the parties’ mutual belief that the best interests of our child, ______________________, require stable sources of financial, academic, medical, and emotional support, the parties enter into this Agreement to guarantee that their child will receive the full benefit of having each and both of the parties as parents, including current and future financial and emotional support and rights to inheritance, and to guarantee that both _____________________ and ____________________ shall be considered natural and legal parents of ________________________.
Therefore, we agree as follows:
1. Each party acknowledges and agrees that they live together in a primary family relationship and have since ______________________. The parties further acknowledge that during the course of their relationship [______________________ gave birth to ___________________ (child or children) on _________________] or [they adopted __________________ (child or children) on ____________________.]
2. The decision to have a child was a joint decision of the parties and was based on the commitment of each party to parent the child(ren) jointly. The parties acknowledge that both partners have been primary parents and caregivers to the child(ren) since birth.
3. Each party acknowledges and agrees that, while they now live together as a family, there may come a time when the parties no longer do so. In that event, the parties agree that they will continue to provide for their child(ren) as follows:
a. Both parties will have joint custody of the child(ren).
b. Both parties will take whatever action is necessary to obtain a shared parenting agreement from the court having jurisdiction over these matters.
c. The child will spend approximately one-half of his/her time with each parent. Each parent shall share equally in the responsibility for the care of the child(ren) during school vacations or illness either by personally caring for the child(ren) or making arrangements for proper care.
d. Each parent will pay one-half of the normal daily living expenses and costs of the child(ren) while they live together; or the entire cost of daily living expenses when the child(ren) is/are with each one, should they stop living together.
e. Each parent shall claim the child(ren) as a dependent for tax purposes in alternate years. _________________ shall claim the child(ren) during even numbered tax years and _____________________ during odd numbered tax years.
f. Each parent shall maintain the child(ren) as a beneficiary(ies) of a life insurance policy in the minimum amount of ____________ until the child(ren) shall attain the age of [majority] or [specify age].
4. Both parents acknowledge and agree that all major decisions regarding the physical location, support, education, medical care, and religious training of the child(ren) shall be made by them jointly.
5. Both parents agree that each will make a good faith effort to remain in ________________________ (name community) until the child(ren) complete high school. Neither parent may move out of the designated community without the prior written consent of the other parent. The other parent shall not unreasonably withhold such consent.
6. The parties agree that should a significant discrepancy occur in their respective net monthly income, following a separation, they will negotiate child support payments consistent with the child support schedule then in effect in their State of domicile.
7. Each parent agrees that, in the event either of them is no longer able to care and provide for the child(ren) because of death or legal disability, it will be in the best interests of the child(ren) to remain with the other parent. Neither parent will allow the child(ren) to be adopted by any other person so long as both parents are living.
8. Each parent agrees that any dispute pertaining to this Agreement will be resolved through mediation. The mediator shall be an objective third party who is mutually agreed upon. The mediator’s role shall be to help us resolve any disputes, dissolve our relationship, and/or resolve any differences concerning the child(ren). The parties agree to enter mediation in good faith. [Can include clause/provision concerning collaborative law efforts to resolve disputes in addition to, in lieu of, or as an alternative to mediation.]
9. In the event that the parties’ attempt at good-faith mediation is unsuccessful to resolve all issues in dispute, either party may seek to resolve the issues through arbitration through the use of the following protocol:
a Deliver a written demand for arbitration to the other person and name one arbitrator;
b. The other party shall respond with the name of a second arbitrator within five days from receipt of the notice;
c. The two named arbitrators shall select and name a third arbitrator;
d. The arbitration meeting will take place within seven days following the selection of the third arbitrator;
e. Each party is entitled to retain legal counsel at his/her own expense;
f. Each party may present witnesses and evidence at the arbitration hearing;
g. The arbitrators shall issue their decision within five days after the hearing. Their decision shall set forth their findings and conclusion and shall be in writing. The decision shall be binding upon each of us. We agree that neither party shall seek relief from the arbitration decision in court.
h. If the person to whom an arbitration demand is made fails to respond within five days, the other party may give an additional five days’ written notice of his/her intent to proceed. If there is still no response, the person initiating the arbitration may proceed with the arbitration before an arbitrator he/she has designated. Any award shall have the same force and effect as if all three arbitrators had settled it.
10. Each party understands that there are legal questions raised by the issues involved in this Agreement that are not yet settled by statute or prior court decisions. Notwithstanding the knowledge that certain clauses stated in this Agreement may be unenforceable in a court of law, the parties choose to enter into this Agreement to clarify their intent to jointly provide and nurture their child(ren), even when they are no longer living together in a single family residence.
11. Specifically, the parties recognize that the current state of law regarding financial support of children may not obligate the non-legally recognized parent to provide support to the child(ren).
12. The parties also recognize that current law gives the natural/legal parent no enforceable right to collect support on behalf of the child(ren) from the other parent.
13. Notwithstanding the current state of the law regarding support, each party agrees to support the minor child(ren) and to be bound by current and future support obligations for the child(ren) pursuant to the laws of the State in which the child is domiciled.
14. The parties intend that this Agreement create an enforceable right for either party to collect child support on behalf of the child(ren), including the right to request that support be extended beyond minority consistent with the child support laws of the State of domicile.
15. The parties agree to do everything legally possible to create a legal relationship between the child(ren) and the non-legally recognized parent, _______________. This will be done for purposes of custody, visitation, support, inheritance, health care insurance, and guardianship of the minor child(ren).
16. Each party agrees to leave at least one-half of his/her estate to the child(ren). If a trust is created for the child(ren), the trustor shall name the other parent as the trustee. Likewise, both parties agree to name the other as the child(ren)’s guardian in their respective wills. The parties agree to jointly decide on an alternate guardian of the child(ren).
17. The parties intend this Agreement to guide the Court should one become involved in determining the best interests of the child(ren). The parties agree that the Court shall have jurisdiction over any disputes arising during the child(ren)’s minority regarding custody, support, or visitation.
18. The parties agree to participate in Court-ordered mediation concerning issues of custody or visitation and to be bound by court orders regarding the child(ren). Specifically, ___________________ agrees to be bound by a court order compelling him/her to pay support for the child(ren) or to have contact with the child(ren) on a set schedule. Likewise, ____________________, the natural parent, agrees to be bound by any court order granting visitation and/or joint custody to _________________________. Both parties agree that they will not raise legal arguments intended to interfere with the ongoing relationship between the other parent and the child(ren).
19. The parties agree to put aside any personal differences they may have with each other, in the event of their separation or termination of the relationship, in order to do what is in the best interests of the child(ren).
20. If either party contests the Court’s jurisdiction over any dispute involving the child(ren), including custody, support, care, or visitation, then that party may be stopped from defeating the Court’s jurisdiction by reason of having accepted the benefits of the mutual promises contained in this Agreement. It either party contests the Court’s jurisdiction over any issue involving the custody, care, support, or visitation of the child(ren), and is successful in defeating the Court’s jurisdiction, then that party shall be liable for liquidated damages in the amount of $_______________ for each year that this Agreement was in effect. The contesting party shall also be responsible for paying all costs and attorney fees incurred by the defending party.
21. This Agreement contains the entire understanding of the parties. There are no promises, understandings, agreements, or representations between them that are not reflected in this Agreement.
22. Each party agrees that he/she signed this Agreement voluntarily and freely, of his/her own volition, without any duress of any kind whatsoever.
23. Both parties acknowledge that legal counsel represented them in the discussions and negotiations that led to the creation of this Agreement. _______________________, Attorney at Law, represented _________________________. And, ____________________, Attorney at Law, represented _______________________. Each party acknowledges that he/she had legal advice prior to signing this Agreement and that each fully understands the terms of this Agreement.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereunto have executed this Agreement, on the ____ day of ______________, 20__, in ___________________, ______________.
Dated: ______________ __________________________________________
Dated: ______________ __________________________________________
State of ___________________
County of _________________
___________________________ and _____________________________ personally appeared before me and executed and acknowledged this Shared Parenting Agreement before me this ____ day of ____________, 20__.