Most child custody agreements can be attained prior to a case going to court, by parents working together to resolve custody. This provides a summary of ways parents can use to come to a child custody agreement: negotiating, mediating, collaborative law, and decree.
Coming to an Agreement Through Informal Negotiations
When parents are ready to work with each other for resolving the matters of child custody and parenting time, they are able to negotiate an agreement. Those involved in custody disputes might want to have their viewpoints arbitrated by an attorney. Or might negotiate on their own and speak with their attorneys prior to finalizing their agreement.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Child Custody
One way to reach a resolution is to use an ADR method. 2 methods are general in family law: mediation and collaborative law. The method of ADR tends to decrease conflict, increase collaboration, and even strengthen relationships. Parents typically find they have learned to work with each other by participating in the process. But parents must be willing to go through with it.
ADR choices are less hostile and more informal than other methods. They encourage and expedite early settlement. Using mediation and collaborative law, parents take an active part in making essential decisions. They might have their attorney with them to help them in the process.
In a lot of states, parents getting divorced are required to use mediation to try to come to a resolution on child custody and parenting time. Should that be unsuccessful, they could then go to court.
Seldom used in family law cases, arbitration is a more controlled ADR method. An unbiased 3rd party makes the decision following hearing each side’s viewpoints. In child custody cases, the arbitrator’s decision is not exactly the last. The parties might still be able to resolve essential matters later, prior to them going to court.
Competing Custody Out-of-Court: Parenting Agreements
The result of effective child custody negotiations is a written agreement. This document is referred to as a “parenting agreement.” “settlement agreement,” or a “custody agreement.” This document usually requires a signature from a judge for entry as a final decree.
When the custody agreement is part of the divorce, the document is filed in the court in which the application for examine was filed. There is going to be a court hearing. The judge is going to review the agreement and inquire if each party comprehends the agreement and decides to sign it on their own.
The judge needs to see that:
- The agreement was negotiated justly,
- That it is in the child’s best interest, and
- That it doesn’t obviously favor one parent over the other.
If these terms are met, the agreement is going to almost always receive approval from the court. The agreement then turns into an irrevocable court order. The parties in the agreement are required to follow it it or face legal repercussions.
Even Cordial Parents Are Able to Use Legal Assistance with Custody Negotiations
Custody issues can be complicated, especially throughout a challenging parental separation. When you can work with one another cooperatively you are able to save time and money at the same time coming to a mutually acceptable agreement.
It’s vital to have a firm and knowledgeable negotiator on your side. An experienced child custody attorney can protect your interests without endangering the negotiations.
Staff, F. L. (2021, December 10). Working together to resolve custody. Findlaw. Retrieved October 24, 2022, from https://www.findlaw.com/family/child-custody/working-together-to-resolve-custody.html
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