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Can we make our own child custody agreement outside of court?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Child Custody |

You and your spouse are going to get divorced. You’ve already had children, so you know that becoming co-parents will be part of this process. You both still want to be involved in the children’s lives, and you know that it’s generally best for a child’s development to be involved with both of their parents.

However, if you get divorced, you’ve heard that the court simply makes a child custody arrangement for you. It will consider what is in the child’s best interests to make the ruling. You will then have to follow this ruling. But you certainly think that you know what is best for your child in a way that the court never could. Is it possible for you and your spouse to make your own agreement, or do you have to abide by what the court tells you?

You can do this through mediation or negotiation

The good news is that the answer is yes. You and your spouse can come to an agreement on your own. If you do this, the court will generally prefer to use it over anything that a judge would’ve arranged. The court also knows that you understand what your child needs and what will work best for your life. As long as it appears to be legal, the court simply will approve a mutually-agreeable co-parenting arrangement signed off by both parents.

People will often accomplish this aim by using mediation. Mediation allows you to sit down with a third party – who is the mediator, on neither side – and they will help you and your spouse work together with your attorneys to come up with the details of your own divorce settlement. You can decide how to share time with your kids, how to divide assets and things of this nature. This is often faster, less expensive and less contentious than a litigated approach – and it means that you and your spouse will remain in control of what your future is going to look like.

Exploring all of your options

Mediation and other uncontested divorce approaches don’t work for everyone, but you can see how beneficial non-litigated approaches may be if they work for you. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start exploring how to navigate your divorce most efficiently and effectively.


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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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