Resolving Custody Disputes

Resolving Custody Disputes

Most child custody agreements can be achieved prior to a case going to to court, provided those involved are willing to work with one another. This post provides a summary of techniques parents can utilize to reach a child custody agreement: negotiation, collaborative law, mediation, and arbitration.

Settlement Using Casual Negotiations

If parents are willing to work with one another to resolve their matters of child custody and visitation, they are able to negotiate an agreement. Those involved in a custody dispute may choose to have their viewpoints negotiated by an attorney. Or they can negotiate themselves and later consult their attorneys prior to finalizing their agreement.

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Child Custody

One way to come to an agreement is to use an “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR) technique. Two techniques are common in family law: mediation and collaborative law. ADR techniques tend to decrease conflict, enhance collaboration, and possibly improve relationships. Parents oftentimes find they have learned to work with one another by involving themselves in the process. But parents must be willing to do it.

ADR options are less oppositional and more relaxed than other techniques. They promote and expedite early settlement. With mediation and collaborative law, parents take an active part in making major decisions. They can have their attorney on hand to help them throughout the process.

In many states, divorcing parents are required to go through mediation in an attempt to come to an agreement concerning child custody and parenting time. Should that fail, they can then go to court.

Seldom used in family law cases, arbitration is a more organized ADR technique. An unbiased 3rd party comes to a decision after hearing each parties’ arguments. In child custody cases, the arbitrator’s decision is not unavoidably final. The parties may still be able to resolve matters later, prior to them going to court.

Finalizing Custody Out-of-Court: Parental Agreements

The outcome of productive child custody negotiations is an agreement in writing. This agreement is known as a “settlement agreement,” a “custody agreement,” or a “parenting agreement.” This agreement typically requires a judge’s signature for record as a closing order.

When the settlement agreement is part of divorce proceedings, it is filed in the court in which the petition for divorce was filed. There is going to be court proceedings. The judge is going to examine the agreement and inquire if each party comprehends it and decides to voluntarily sign it.

Judges want to see that:

  • The agreement was negotiated justly,
  • That it is in the child’s best interest, and
  • That it doesn’t clearly favor one spouse over the other.

If these provisions are fulfilled, the agreement is going to most of the time receive court approval. The parenting agreement then turns into an irrevocable court order or “decree.” The spouses to the agreement must follow it or face legal repercussions.

Even Amicable Parents Are Able to Use Legal Assistance with Child Custody Negotiations

Custody matters can be difficult, especially throughout a difficult parental separation. If you can work together collaboratively, you can save time and money while coming to a mutually reasonable agreement.

It’s important to have a formidable and skilled negotiator on your side. An experienced child custody lawyer can protect your interests at the same time not risking parent-to-parent negotiations.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, December 10). Working together to resolve custody. Findlaw. Retrieved June 15, 2022, from

Speak With Our Child Custody Attorney In Scottsdale

Our child custody and guardianship attorney in Phoenix and Scottsdale will advance your case with concern and personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions.

An experienced family law attorney will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome in your situation. We advocate for our clients, so they have the brightest future possible. Give us a call today at 480-999-0800 for a free consultation.


Jennifer Moshier Collaborative Divorce Lawyer Scottsdale Arizona
Jennifer Moshier, Scottsdale Divorce Lawyer

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