Children Custody

Getting a divorce can be one of the most painful things to happen to you in your lifetime.  But when children are involved and a custody battle ensues, the pain is magnified even more.  It’s not necessary, however, to fight it out in court.  In fact, it’s best if the parties can come to an agreement about custody before it becomes necessary for a judge to make the decision.

Ways to Agree on Custody

There are different ways a custody agreement can be reached.

  • Informal negotiations, with or without lawyers
  • Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, options like mediation or collaborative family law
  • The court makes a decision

Informal Negotiations

This is the best and easiest option for couples to decide on a custody agreement.  When the parents are willing to work together to come up with the best arrangement for them and their child or children, this method is ideal.

If parents can work it out among themselves without attorneys, that’s perfectly acceptable. But having an attorney present for negotiations is sometimes the better choice, if one or both spouses feel they might need help in protecting their rights. Even if they don’t use attorneys for the negotiation process, it’s best to consult with one once an agreement has been reached.M/p>

When the couple decides mutually on a custody agreement, a lawyer will draw up a written document containing the agreement which each will sign.  Then the lawyer will file the document with the court.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Sometimes the court who will grant the divorce and the custody agreement will require that parents attempt to come to an agreement through mediation or some other means of alternative dispute resolution. And only when that does not work, will the court hand down a decision. ADR is a good option for parents who are willing to work together and would rather come to a mutual agreement than let the courts make the decision, but who find themselves in dispute over custody.

Attorneys are present during these types of negotiations, but they’re not nearly as formal as arguing in a courtroom. The end goal is a mutual agreement that can be drawn up in document form and presented to the court. When these methods fail, the judge hearing the case makes the final decision about child custody.

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