Do we Need Court if we Agree on Custody Terms?

In the eyes of the court, it is always a good thing when two parents are able to agree on what works for their children. This is why, when two parents are separating or thinking about separation, the courts encourage them to come to reasonable agreements that allow for specific parenting time and decision-making. It is believed that two parents, not the court, are able to make the best decisions for a child when they come together and communicate. However, because you are considering going through divorce, you have probably sat down with an attorney and they may have urged you to solve your matters through court. What if you believe this isn’t in your child’s best interest and you decide to work these matters out with your partner? What options remain?

Establishing Visitation and Custody with the Other Parent

When two parents decide to communicate and handle these matters on their own, it is called coming up with a “parenting plan.” There is still court interference, as you come up with this plan and review it with the help of your attorney, and then it is submitted to the court for approval. Sometimes, it works as a stand-alone agreement and other times it becomes part of your divorce settlement if you have already started the process. Providing everything looks good to the court and they believe a fair deal is being made, they will formalize it for both parties to abide by. As long as you and the other parent came to these agreements without coercion, the document is still legally binding!

Can we Still Change our Agreement if Needed?  

Yes, if you believe that changes must be made and you work together to improve your document, the court will recognize these changes. If you and your partner can no longer work together on some issues, then the court can interfere and help you decide what is in the best interests of your child. However, you or the other parent at this point will have to prove that there was a change in circumstances to get the results necessary.

In some cases, you may choose to avoid court altogether and talk to a counselor or mediator. Luckily for you, we also understand the process of mediation and can help you come to a conclusion about your case what works best for you, your partner, and your child. Call us today for more information on how we can help!