Most cases settle out of court. Creating a settlement agreement can be of great benefit to parents, as it allows them to tailor-make a custody and visitation arrangement that is custom built to meet the needs of their family and their children. As every family is different, the benefits are clear to see, as going into court rarely results in an order that has as many individualized provisions as parties could build in had they settled the case themselves. Although there are many advantages to settling a custody case before a final hearing, there are some common mistakes you should try your best to avoid.
A very common mistake is failing to seek the advice of an attorney. Even where you and your spouse have settled on the provisions of the custody agreement, you should independently go and talk about the case with your own lawyer. Your lawyer can help identify potential problem areas of your agreement as well as assist you in getting the paperwork done correctly the first time around. An attorney can also advise you as to whether your agreement is consistent with your rights or whether going to court may result in more favorable outcome.
Another common mistake is blindly trusting your former spouse or partner. Although in the past the two of you worked together for mutual benefit, a custody battle means this is no longer the case. This is not to say your former partner is intentionally lying, but it is still essential to take everything he or she says about what is advisable in a custody settlement with a grain of salt and seek your own counsel.
Third is failing to read and fully understand every provision of the custody agreement. For example, if you do not understand the difference between sole and joint legal custody and the implications carried with those terms, you should not rush to sign off on an agreement. It is essential you understand the provisions in your custody agreement.
Finally, avoid the temptation to rush to sign an agreement as soon as possible. A custody order is an important document that will dictate your life and that of your children for years to come. There is always a desire to get a legal case over with as soon as possible, but agreeing too quickly and without taking due time to really consider what is best for your children could result in an order that does not fit you or our family’s needs.If you are facing a custody case, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Call us today at (732) 529-6937 to talk about your children and your agreement.