Creating A Legally Binding Child Custody Agreement

divorce lawyer Maura BoogayQuestion:

My wife has agreed for me to have primary physical custody of our child, but I need something to legally bind her to this agreement in case she changes her mind before our upcoming child custody hearing.

She is only agreeing to this if I give her my car. Is there anything I can do to create a legally binding custody agreement that holds her to this arrangement?


I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania child support laws where I am licensed to practice.

You have more than one option to get your goals accomplished and different options may be more advisable based on overall goals for your matter. I strongly encourage you to discuss your goals and options with an attorney who may advise you accordingly.

With that said, if you have a child custody agreement, then you may enter into what is known as a custody stipulation. This is a legal document containing your agreed upon terms for custody that may be filed with the court and once approved by a judge, may be signed by the judge and made into a final order of court.

It is possible to resolve custody this way without ever having to enter the court, so long as your stipulation is legally sound and addresses all custody issues, which generally include legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody refers to decision making powers regarding the child and physical custody refers to physical possession of the child. There are different kinds of physical custody including primary, partial, and sole.

Which is appropriate in your case is dependent on the facts of the case. If you are not able to get a stipulation prepared before your court date, it is a good idea to get some documentation reflecting your wife’s intention to give you primary physical (or whatever form thereof) in exchange for you giving her the car (assuming that is in fact what you want to do).

This way, if you have to go to court, you have something to show the judge evidencing it was the mother’s intent to give you custody of your child in exchange for the car.

Try to get her agreement to these terms documented in an email communication or at least text communication, if unable to get a formal stipulation completed beforehand.

Again, I repeat it is advisable for you to speak with an attorney because of the impact of lending her or giving her the car.

If you are married and a divorce is pending or may be shortly, the car is potentially marital property (depending on when it was acquired) and would be subject to equitable distribution.

You want to be sure you know what marital property and debts exist before making transfers of property that will impact your overall divorce. Thus, it is best to discuss this with an attorney to see how this could impact your goals all around.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Maura C. Boogay, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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One comment on “Creating A Legally Binding Child Custody Agreement

    In moving out of town and my granddaughter wants to live with me. Her mom said she could but I need papers for school and insurance so I can put her on my insurance at work.

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