A Californian psychotherapist says that in addition to providing increased mental closure for couples, divorce plans that include explicit provisions for child custody and visitation may be useful. Committing agreements to writing provides couples with a baseline for future negotiations, and as these documents are amended with modifications, they act as historical records that may preclude disputes over alleged verbal assurances.
Child custody agreements can still leave room for change, and these documents may even place parents on better footing should such necessities arise. Parents with plans can use them to provide for unexpected events like remarriage or relocation. Some plans include specific orders for these situations, and they could reduce the chances that any disputes will have negative effects on the children.
Agreements may also provide parents with fall-back arrangements that help reestablish some kind of normalcy in the event that one or both parent fails to fulfill their obligations. In some cases, the existence of plans may even make it less likely that parents will have to go to court over their issues. By putting their differences aside to determine the best custody arrangement, it's possible for parents to minimize conflicts that make the process harder on children and potentially avoid problems later.
Child custody plans aren't always perfect. In some cases, changing circumstances, like being fired from one's job, make it impossible to adhere to existing agreements. Parents who get divorced can usually rely on courtroom remedies when things go wrong, but formal orders and enforcement may not be ideal. Couples having problems with their custody arrangements may want to speak with their respective attorneys in order to learn how alternatives like family law negotiation might make it easier to resolve issues amicably.