Some child custody cases are highly contentious: from day one, the parents, and their lawyers, are fighting over every issue. Fortunately, in many cases, the parents are able to agree on the major issues. Although this can remain an informal understanding, there are some good reasons why both parents, and the children, will benefit from having a court order.
A Court Order Gives Both Parents Legal Protection
Without a Court Order, neither parent has any greater legal rights to the child. That means that if a parent doesn’t allow the other parent to visit, or refuses to return the child after a visit, the other parent can’t enforce the agreement: all that they could do is hire a custody lawyer, and begin the court process. On the other hand, if there is a Court Order, either parent can enforce it, either through a Contempt of Court proceeding, or (in some situations) through the police.
A Court Order Can Allow for Sharing of Legal or Physical Custody
Some parents may be reluctant to agree to a Court Order because they are afraid that they would be losing some legal rights. This does not need to be the case: a properly prepared agreement can include language providing that legal or physical custody is shared. Joint or Shared Custody.
An Agreed Custody Order is Not Difficult or Expensive to Obtain
If both parents agree, a Custody Attorney can prepare an agreement that will be filed with the Court, and approved by a Judge, without holding a hearing. There is a filing fee, and the lawyer will charge for preparing the agreement, but these costs are a lot less than what a contested custody case would cost.