Out-Of-Court Child Custody Agreements: Why You Want One

It's only natural for spouses to have disagreements regarding their divorce processes. When these disagreements extend to child custody, however, things can get heated fast.

Imagine one spouse wants to have full custody and won't budge on the matter. The other spouse could become terrified of losing time with his or her kids. This terror may end in long, drawn-out and contentious court proceedings. Since no one wants a result like this, spouses are usually able to come to some kind of an out-of-court child custody agreement.

Courts encourage parents to come to a child custody agreement

New York courts encourage parents to come to an out-of-court child custody and visitation agreement. In most cases, parents are able to arrive at an arrangement that is fair and agreeable to all parties involved. If parents can't arrive at a decision on their own, however, other out-of-court strategies could be useful.

Divorce mediation proceedings, for example, are a great way to bring two parents who can't agree on child custody into a settlement. During mediation, a mediator will be present to guide and referee the parents in all discussions. The parents will usually meet with their respective family law attorneys as the neutral mediator guides discussions -- while interjecting his or her view on certain issues in order to bring a balanced perspective that honors the needs and legal rights of both sides.

Parents might agree to child custody terms that look like the following:

  • The children live with one parent part of the time and the other parent the rest of the time. The living schedule might be 50/50 or it could be some other arrangement that works well for the children and parents.
  • The children will live full-time with one parent and the other parent will have regular visitation rights.

Of course, the above two options may be adjusted and tweaked to ensure to fit the needs and best interests of the children and parents involved.

When parents can't agree out of court

When parents are unable to come to a child custody agreement -- no matter what they try -- then they must leave the issue of child custody up to the courts to decide. In these circumstances, parents will want to learn as much as they can about New York child custody law to protect their legal rights during such proceedings.