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If you’re facing a divorce in New York City and anywhere in the greater New York area, you almost certainly have questions about child custody and child support. Parents often have strong opinions about how child custody and child support should be decided in their divorce case. They rightfully want to know how much say they have in the process of making decisions for their children.
Can custody issues be decided without going to court?
Yes, there are several ways that a custody issue can be decided without going to court. If the parents are in agreement, the court almost always agrees with the decision of the parents. When the parents are involved in a legal dispute, the court oversees the case. However, even though the court can review the parents’ decision for the best interests of the children, if the parents are in agreement, the court almost always confirms that the decision of the parents is in the best interests of the children.
Can we agree on custody and parenting time issues without court?
Even in cases where you don’t think the other parent isn’t open to reaching an agreement, you may be surprised to find that you can actually find common ground and resolve the case without court. There are things that you can do to negotiate your case even if your case issues seem hopeless or the other parent doesn’t seem open to negotiating. You can negotiate directly with the other parent with or without the help of an experienced child custody attorney in New York. Negotiations may be best on the phone through the respective attorneys, or it may be best to negotiate through written discussions. There are also formal negotiation processes like mediation that can help you reach an agreement in your child custody issue.
Experienced attorneys for custody issues can help you determine what your rights are under New York law and whether you should accept a settlement offer that the other side offers. Negotiations often work best when both parties have a realistic idea of what might happen in the case if they leave it to a judge to hear the case. Negotiated agreements often allow the parties to be more creative in their arrangements than the court might order.
How can we agree on child custody and support issues in New York without going to court?
If you agree with the other parent on a child issue that’s subject to the court’s jurisdiction, how you resolve the matter depends on your stage of the case. If you’re beginning your child custody case for the first time, you need to prepare an order for the judge to sign. Your experienced New York child custody attorneys can help you draft a judgment to present to the court.
If you’re entering your custody order by agreement, both parties sign the agreement. Their signatures indicate to the judge that they agree with the decision. An agreement is called a stipulation of the parties under New York’s civil court rules. You file the agreement with the court, and the judge looks at the agreement. When the court agrees, the judge signs the order, and the order goes into effect.
Making minor changes in child custody issues
Sometimes, the only change that you need to make to your child custody case is minor. When you already have an order in place, you might need to make changes quickly or changes that are temporary. For example, if the non-custodial parent usually exercises parenting time every other weekend, you might want to switch weekends with the other parent in order to accommodate a family event. In that case, you can reach out to the other parent to see if they’re in agreement. If they agree in writing, your mutual written confirmation may be enough evidence for the court to enforce the agreement.
When your intended custody changes amount to a change in custody or they’re permanent changes, it’s best to submit the change to the court for the judge’s signature. A formal court stipulation clears up any questions or gray areas, and it also allows the court to revisit the child support award if it’s appropriate. Our experienced child support attorneys in New York can help you determine if you can resolve your matter by an informal agreement or if you should go back to the court with an order to make it official.
In some cases, you can resolve your custody issues without going to court. It’s not the best outcome in all cases. Our New York child custody attorneys can help you determine what’s best for you and your children in your case.