Parents: Why it’s important to have formal court orders in place

When parents separate or divorce, the relationship may not end overnight. There can be a transition period where spouses attempt to reconcile or live separately in the same home. This may be ideal for two parents who want to spend as much time as possible with their children, but what happens when the reconciliation efforts fail? 

Even where spouses have already separated and have maintained a positive co-parenting relationship for a lengthy period, what happens when one parent unilaterally decides that their home is better for the parties’ child? 

All of the above circumstances make having eforceable custody and support agreements worthwhile.    

Too often, parents come to informal agreements on their own and assume these terms will stick. While everyone is getting along, these agreements work.  However, when one parent becomes frustrated with another, they may not be willing to follow the informal agreement previously discussed.  In this scenario, the unwritten agreement is not enforceable and you could end up missing valuable time with your children until you can secure a custody order from the court.

To avoid the uncertainty of informal agreements, parents should seek legally enforceable orders before their co-parenting relationship sours. Child custody and support orders — even temporary orders — set clear expectations that can help parents understand their responsibilities as well as the consequences of noncompliance.

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