If you and your spouse are able to reach an agreement with respect to custody/visitation issues, that agreement should be put in writing; for example, as part of a separation agreement. If you and your spouse are unable to agree (or if you and the parent of your child are not married), you can (and should) file a lawsuit seeking child custody and/or visitation rights. Once a lawsuit is filed, the court will require the parties to attend mediation. Mediation is a process where the parties, with the assistance of a court-appointed neutral third party, attempt to reach an agreement regarding child custody and any visitation issues. If an agreement is reached, it will be put in writing and signed by the parties and a judge. If not, the case will proceed to trial and the outcome of that trial will be reflected in a written court order.
Underlying all of this is the idea that children and the issues related to their upbringing are too valuable to leave to chance or ambiguity. There must be a writing—either as a result of a separation agreement, a mediation, or a hearing that clearly establishes the rights and responsibilities of each parent. At the Law Offices of Ryan B. Addison, we have guided many families in this area of the law, and can help yours beginning today. Call now for help.