50+ SAMPLE Family Agreement

What Is a Family Agreement?

A family agreement is a formal written agreement between members of a family unit. It can be used for various reasons, most commonly estate settlement or management, gadget regulation, and internet usage or safety. 

According to an online article by Pew Research Center, 66% of parents in the United States believe that parenting is harder compared to 20 years ago. Technology and social media were cited as a major and common reason. The article further reports that 71% of parents (of a child under the age of 12) are concerned about how much time their child spends in front of screens.     

Benefits Of Having a Family Agreement

Unlike a lot of written agreements, a family agreement may not be as formal or  professional. It may well be considered a personal and optional arrangement, but it does come with a few advantages. The following are just some benefits you can weigh and consider when crafting a family agreement.  

Cultivates clarity and intention. Most people will not even consider creating a family agreement. For the most part, being a member of a family establishes a familiarity and to some extent a certain complacency that most people don’t even think twice about. Whatever the reason for creating a family agreement, it can help clear up the air and affirm intentions. For instance, inheritance and property can be a potential source of contention and conflict among family members. To prevent this from happening or to prevent unnecessary escalation, perhaps a formal agreement that clarifies the issue will be of great help. It helps to be prepared; and anticipating potential problems is key in a family agreement. By being proactive and intentional, family members can better navigate their household dynamics. Promotes safety and security. This is especially true for kids. Every parent prioritizes the safety and security of their children. This cannot be more emphasized in the digital age. The internet is teeming with resources and information; however, there is also a dark side to the internet. And children need guidance and protection when using the internet. Establishing a family agreement that helps regulate the use of gadgets and online usage could be a potential solution. Children and teenagers must be made aware that there are rules and guidelines when using the internet. Adults, on the other hand, need to ensure that these rules are enforced fairly and justly. In a world where everything is interconnected and information is widely accessible, education is the best tool that parents, teachers, and other adults can employ when it comes to children’s online safety. Opportunity to discuss issues. A family agreement takes a typical family meeting a step further. Yes, families get together all the time and talk about their lives. But oftentimes, the hurried lifestyles and demands of modern life can reduce family time to mere superficial exchanges. What’s more, if any member of the family is encountering problems or challenges, it can be easy to overlook these because of a lack of intentional family time. Having the family sit down and craft a formal agreement that addresses issues can prove to be helpful for some households. It can be an opportune moment for each member to open up and freely discuss their thoughts and ideas. However, it is important to note that this approach will only work if family members withhold judgment and create a safe space for these discussions to take place. As much as possible, you want to set an atmosphere of openness and acceptance when drafting a family agreement.

Tips For Creating a Family Agreement

Although optional, a family agreement can create a positive impact within the household. What essentially matters is the content and the commitment to it. There are a number of different ways to ensure that a family agreement remains relevant and impactful. Keep in mind the following tips the next time you’re planning to draft a family agreement.   

Get everyone’s input. If you want your family agreement to work, you need to gather input from all family members. You want the agreement to be as inclusive and comprehensive as it can be. Make sure every member is heard. This not only promotes fairness and equality but actively recognizes each member as valued and important. A good family agreement is not one-dimensional or one-track minded. It is the exact opposite and only then can it be sustainable in the long run. It is not enough that only the parents’ opinions are heard and formalized in the agreement. What the children have to say must also be incorporated in the family agreement. Schedule regular quality time. If every family member’s opinion is valued, then there must be an active decision to spend quality time with every member present. Regular quality time is key if a family is serious about strengthening relationships and familial bonds. A family agreement ought to be a collaborative activity; thus, quality family time demands it. It does not have to be anything grand or ostentatious, something as simple as regular dinners together is already a good start. The key is sticking to it. More often than not, family time can be interrupted by all kinds of distractions at work, school, with peers, etc. Taking a family agreement seriously means taking family time seriously. One cannot be without the other. Decide on family core values. A great tip to keep in mind when creating a formal family agreement is to establish core values as a family. In the same way they serve business plans or action plans, core values must also serve as the driving force of a family agreement. It sets the stage or the tone of the formal contract. For a family agreement to be sustainable and credible, all members need to take the time to sit down and decide amongst themselves what their core values are and how these values define them as a family. It is not absolutely necessary, but it might help the household dynamics if there is a clear understanding of what the family deems important. Family core values may include love, patience, openness, understanding, tolerance or even gratitude. Practice honesty and transparency. If there is one thing a family agreement should have, it is honesty and transparency. The two principles can even be considered core values. It is important to practice honesty and accountability especially within the family. A home life that is not built on trust can have a rocky or shaky foundation. Especially with children, there needs to be an atmosphere of trust, reliability, and confidence in the household. For a family agreement to work, it is absolutely imperative for parents to set an example of honesty and transparency for the children to follow. This should go beyond mere words. More than just the provisions and promises contained in a family agreement, honesty in the execution and enactment of the agreement are far more important.

How to Create a Family Agreement

The content of a family agreement would obviously depend on the kind of agreement made between family members. The subject can range from real estate to social media. If you are looking for faster and more convenient ways to craft an agreement, using a sample template is your best bet. Select a template from above and follow the step-by-step guide below to get started. 

Step 1: Parties

The first step is identifying the parties involved in the agreement contract. Since it is a family agreement, the names of the family members ought to be stated. Provide the complete names of each member and their role in the family. Whether it is a nuclear family agreement or an extended family agreement, every party who is subject to the agreement should be explicitly identified. It’s not just adults who are part of a family agreement; children too must be allowed to participate and contribute to the agreement. If a family agreement is to be taken seriously, then all members must be represented and included.  

Step 2: Background

After establishing the family members’ identities, provide a clear and thorough background of why the agreement was established. Explain and describe the reasons why a family agreement was needed or what led to its conception. In other worlds, what is the family agreement about? Details are key and all family members should be able to understand the purpose of the agreement. For instance, if the agreement revolves around real estate property, then provide enough information regarding the property. It could be a brief history or general facts about the estate. 

Step 3: Terms and Conditions

The bulk of your family agreement should be the terms and conditions. As much as possible, you want to cover all areas of concern and leave little to doubt or chance. Drawing up the right provisions may take time and effort, but it may save you a lot of needless misunderstanding later on. The specific terms would greatly depend on the kind of agreement. For example, if the family agreement centers on the kids’ online safety and security, you need to touch on consequences and regulations that will help enforce that safety. Sample terms could include schedule of device or gadget use, duration of the agreement, grounds for breach of contract, etc.   

Step 4: Confirmation

The last step is a simple declaration that all parties consent to the aforementioned terms and conditions. All formal agreements require the parties to affirm their decisions either by submitting their consent or affixing their signature. In the case of a family agreement, all family members must make their formal confirmation on paper. Make sure to leave adequate space at the bottom of the agreement for all participating parties to sign their names and the date. This final act of acknowledging the terms and conditions is standard practice in most written agreements.


How do you write a family agreement?

To write a family agreement, you need to establish the reason and purpose for the agreement. Once you’ve determined the participating parties, provide a brief background and come up with a comprehensive list of terms and conditions. Refer to the instructional guide above for more detailed directions on how to create a family agreement.

Is a family agreement legally binding?

A family agreement may be legally binding if it is publicly notarized or the parties have chosen to engage the services of a legal team. Otherwise, a family agreement is not necessarily legally binding.

Does a family arrangement need to be registered?

Not necessarily. Depending on state or federal laws, a family agreement does not typically need to be registered.

A family agreement can be a great way to clear up any issues within the family. What matters is that the agreement still embodies respect for all members and reflects the core values of a family. Browse the sample templates above to get started on your own family agreement today!