We have a court-ordered child custody arrangement, but my ex-wife and I were thinking of informally modifying it.
Her new boyfriend is abusive and we both agreed that the children should stay with me for the time being, even during her scheduled parenting time.
Should we have this agreement notarized, or how can we make our verbal agreement upheld in court if an issue arose and made it look as if I was keeping our children from their mother?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana child custody laws where I am licensed to practice.
In general, an agreement regarding child custody is not binding until it is filed with the court. However, an agreement entered into between the parties can be signed and ordered by the court so long as it is in the best interests of the children.
An agreement could therefore allow both parents to continue to share legal custody of the children and give father temporary physical custody of the children with mother being able to exercise parenting time as agreed between the parties so long as the judge feels that such an agreement would be in the best interests of the children.
When the circumstances change then, the parties could enter into another agreement giving mother physical custody and providing for parenting time for the father, so long as the judge agrees that it would be in the best interests of the children.
Judges have broad discretion in family law cases. However, unless there is evidence that it would not be in the best interests of the children for an agreement entered into between the parties to be signed by the court, judges will often sign the agreement.
This encourages parents to work together in their co-parenting of the children and reach agreements between themselves instead of constantly going to court to argue over every issue that arises.
Such an agreement between the parties could be typed and submitted to the court in the form of an agreed entry. The court would then review it and determine whether the agreement would be in the best interests of the children and either sign it and make it an order of the court or deny it as not being in the best interests of the children.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.