Breaking free from your marriage has been on your mind for months now, and you are finally moving forward with the process this year. However, one of your biggest concerns is losing the time you spend with your children. How exactly will you deal with child custody?
Fortunately, in many divorce cases, child custody matters can be resolved outside of court. How? You can do so through informal negotiations or through a dispute resolution process, such as mediation. Here is a glimpse at how you and your spouse can address child custody without having to rely on an Arizona family court.
Reaching an agreement outside of court
During negotiations or mediation, you and your future ex-spouse can discuss how you would like to handle child custody, and then record your resolution in a parenting agreement. For instance, maybe your future ex is okay with allowing you to have physical custody of the children. This means that your children will live with you primarily. Meanwhile, the children will still have opportunities to see the other parent based on a visitation schedule that you both agree on.
During your discussions, you can also discuss how you will handle legal custody. Specifically, who will assume responsibility for making decisions that impact your children’s welfare? These decisions may range from the religious beliefs that you will teach your children, to which types of extracurricular activities in which you will allow your children to participate.
Other matters to address outside of court
Additional issues to address in your parenting agreement include which parent will get to spend time with the children on certain holidays, on birthdays and during vacations. In addition, you can highlight how you will allow third parties, including family friends or grandparents, to see the children. You and your spouse can feel free to customize the agreement in a manner that best meets both of your needs as well as your children’s unique needs.
Receiving court approval for your agreement
After you and your future ex-spouse have agreed on the above matters and included them in your agreement, a judge will need to review the agreement before approving it. The judge will likely ask you both questions about the agreement during a hearing to make sure you both comprehended its contents and signed the agreement voluntarily. If the judge believes that your agreement is just and you both voluntarily entered into it, he or she will more than likely approve it.