Do I Need a Lawyer if We Agree on Custody?

Divorce Lawyer

Parenting in the midst of a divorce adds a challenging layer to an already complex process. Deciding who will have physical and legal custody of your children can be an overwhelming task. Parents may decide on a custody agreement amongst themselves, or have to attend court for a judge to decide. Read on to learn about how you can make custody arrangements successful:

File for Joint Custody

Communication is the key to working out child custody. If you and your former spouse have an amicable relationship, you can work out a joint custody agreement together. Discuss the specifics and fill out the necessary forms together. Then file them at your local courthouse to create a formal custody agreement. Be sure to check your state’s specific laws to determine what documents you need and what steps to take to make the agreement official.

Attend Mediation

If your relationship is less friendly or you have communication concerns, mediation might be a better solution. Mediation is an excellent option for parties who want to avoid the costs and hassle of litigation but need a little extra help. In this process, you meet in the presence of a third-party mediator who is an expert in conflict resolution. They will walk you through everything, facilitating conversation and guiding you toward solutions. The mediator does not make the final decision. You and your spouse keep that control.

Try Arbitration

If a mediator can’t resolve a dispute, arbitration may be the best choice. Like mediation, arbitration uses a neutral third party to resolve conflicts outside of court. However, the arbitration process is a little different. An arbitrator acts as your private judge and relies on information given by both sides to make rulings about how to solve your issues. Whereas you and your spouse are in control of the final decisions in mediation, in arbitration, the judge’s ruling is final.

Keeping a divorce out of the courtroom is possible. If you and your spouse want to avoid court while completing your custody agreement, consider one of the three options above. Filing a parenting plan yourself, using a mediator, or hiring an arbitrator can save you time and money in simple cases. For more complicated cases, as a divorce lawyer from would agree, consider hiring a family lawyer trained to help you in this difficult time.