Can I Reach a Custody Agreement Out of Court?

Written by Jonathan Breeden

February 21, 2018

In North Carolina, as in most of the country, child custody is usually settled out of court. It’s rare for child custody to be determined in a courtroom. This doesn’t mean you don’t need a lawyer if you are trying to determine custody of your child. You may think you and the other parent of can work things out on your own, but such informal agreements rarely stand the test of time. For these reasons, you should work with a lawyer to ensure that your out of court custody settlement creates a stable and beneficial arrangement for you and your family.

For help with settling a child custody agreement out of court, contact a North Carolina child custody lawyer from Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970.

Why Is a Custody Settlement Necessary?

Technically, you and the other parent of your child are under no obligation to reach a formal, written agreement regarding your child’s custody. But taking this approach carries significant risks. In North Carolina, each parent has equal legal authority to take their child to a different residence,

To avoid undue drama, confusion, and possible trauma to your child, it’s best to reach an agreement that limits the extent of each parent’s custodial rights. The custodial agreement will generally grant primary custody to one parent, and visitation rights to another. The extent and duration of these visitation rights can be defined in the agreement. Alternatively, the agreement can set up a joint custody situation, in which you and the other parent split time with the child equally.

What About Having a Judge Decide Custody?

Court procedures are expensive and time-consuming. Thus, you should only seek a court- ordered custody arrangement when it’s not possible to reach an out-of-court agreement with the other parent. At the custody hearing, a judge will consider evidence of each parent’s:

  • Mental and physical well-being
  • Caretaking ability
  • Parenting record
  • Housing
  • Free time
  • Substance abuse
  • Criminal history
  • New relationships

Additionally, the court will consider the child’s age, the presence of any siblings, and even the child’s own opinion of where they would like to live. The judge considers all of these factors to determine what is in the best interests of the child.

A North Carolina Custody Lawyer Can Help Settle Your Child Custody Agreement Out of Court

Can a judge really determine what is in the best interests of your child? After all, a judge doesn’t know you, your child, the other parent, and the innumerable factors that apply to your unique situation. For this reason, you should make every effort to reach an out-of-court settlement between you and the other parent of your son and/or daughter.

An out-of-court custody settlement can work even if you and the other parent of your child have a strained relationship. Your lawyers can negotiate the deal on your behalf. North Carolina family attorney Jonathan Breeden has extensive experience helping families work out custody arrangements. Let him apply his skills and dedication to your case. Contact Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970 to schedule your custody consultation.


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