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Be Wary of Informal Custody Agreements

Posted on in Child Custody

informal, custody, Illinois family law attorneyDivorced or unmarried parents often face a great deal of difficulty in determining arrangements for their children. They may be unable to communicate effectively with each other, making it necessary for the court to issue orders related to child custody, visitation, and support. Others, however, are able to get along just fine and cooperatively establish an agreement that meets their needs while providing for the best interest of their child. While such cooperation is certainly preferable to a contentious situation, parents should be cautious of informal agreements related to issues involving their children.

Following a divorce or breakup, some couples may find it very easy to create an informal arrangement for custody of their child. In some cases, the agreement is entirely verbal, with no written record whatsoever. For parents in an amicable situation, involving the court may seem unnecessary, as the child’s needs are being met while maintaining a positive relationship with each parent.

Potential Problems

While avoiding the court may seem to be the primary advantage of an informal custody agreement, it is also such an agreement&s primary weakness. A verbal arrangement is entirely dependent on the continued cooperation of both parents, which cannot be guaranteed into the future. Even the friendliest relationships can eventually sour and many factors can lead one parent to stop complying with the agreement. A change to either parent’s financial situation, new employment, or new romantic interests can easily affect the couple’s ability to work together.

Without formal recognition from the court, a custody order cannot be legally enforced, effectively leaving each parent and the child completely at the mercy of the other parent. Additionally, other child-related concerns including child support and visitation rights are generally based on custody arrangements. As such, enforcement of those issues would also be affected by the lack of a formal agreement.

Cooperate on a Formal Arrangement

Experts agree that parents who are willing to work together in raising their children are able to minimize the negative impact of divorce and separation. If you are able to work effectively with the other parent currently, take advantage of the opportunity to create a formal custody agreement while you are both fully invested in cooperation. Your agreement can be as flexible or as specific as it needs to be, but having it approved by the court is vital.

If you have questions about developing a custody agreement for your child, contact an experienced family law attorney in Lombard. At A. Traub & Associates, we understand the challenges that divorcing parents face and are ready to work with you every step of the way.

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