Going to court for child custody can be time consuming and expensive. Because of this, many parents often decide to ditch the courtroom altogether and instead create a verbal custody agreement. These agreements can be anything from one parent seeing the child every other weekend to both parents getting equal time with the child.
Even if you and your ex get along and both have the best interest of your child in mind, it’s still important that you file your custody with the courts instead of simply having a verbal agreement.
Situations are going to change.
Many parents create this verbal agreement based on their current situations without looking toward the future. The problem is that both parents’ situations are going to change over time, and this will put you in a bind when it comes to custody.
For example, if one parent gets a promotion that will force them to move, this will cause an issue with your verbal agreement. The moving parent may want to bring the child with them, but the non-moving parent will want the child to stay close. This will likely cause a blowout that is not healthy for your child, and the two of you will just end up in court anyway.
If you make the arrangement in court, these types of situations can be settled before they arise. Also, you and your ex can always decide to go back to court when situations change or your custody agreement needs to be revamped. This will always keep your child’s best interests at the forefront.
You won’t have anything legally binding you.
When you have a verbal agreement, it makes it easier for you and your ex to break it. For example, you may have a verbal agreement that says you’ll both pay 50/50 when it comes to your child’s educational and extracurricular needs. When you don’t have a legal agreement, your ex could decide to back out on this part of the agreement at any time, putting you fully responsible for footing the bill.
When you legally file custody, your agreement is set in stone and you or your ex cannot back out. If your agreement says that you will split costs and your ex doesn’t hold up to their end of the bargain, you can take them back to court where they can either be forced to pay you or they can serve jail time for breaking the agreement.
It defines the parents’ responsibilities.
When you have a verbal agreement, your parenting responsibilities may not be entirely thought out. For example, you may decide to take your child to see one doctor, but your ex may decide to take them to another doctor. This isn’t beneficial for your child.
When you are filed through the courts, they will decide the type of custody both parents receive. For example, if you have joint legal custody, then both parents need to be in agreement when it comes to the upbringing of the child. This means that parents will need to agree on medical care, school, and other items. If you have sole legal custody of your child, then you and you alone get to make these decisions for your child without input from the other parent. Having this determined by the courts will make raising your child easier.