Do We Need to Go to Court if We Agree on Custody?

Do We Need to Go to Court if We Agree on Custody?The Advantage of Agreeing


Child custody is a highly contested matter in many divorces and separations. When custody is contested, both parents will have to go to court to fight for custody in front of a judge. This often results in a custody arrangement that one or both parents are not happy with. Some parents manage to agree on who will have custody of the child. In these cases, the parents do not have to ask a judge to decide on custody for them. They are free to create a custody arrangement and parenting time schedule that works for them. But these parents will still need to involve the court to protect their rights.

Involving the Court

Parents who are divorcing have to settle any custody issues before the divorce can be finalized. They can agree on custody on their own, but that agreement must be submitted to the court for approval. If they can’t agree, the court will decide. The custody decision will finalize with the divorce.

If the parents were not married and the custody action is not part of a divorce, the process is a little different. If two unmarried parents agree on custody, they might not seek a custody order. But this is never a good idea. Some parents think that involving the court will cost time, money, and, ultimately, the judge could still disagree with their decision. Getting a legally enforceable custody order, however, provides both parents and the child with valuable protections.

Legally Enforceable Rights

A custody order can give a parent certain rights. When in a court order, the parent can legally enforce those rights. This means the parent will have legal recourse to take if his or her rights are violated because of a disagreement down the road. For example, if the other parent fails to follow the agreement over parenting time, the parent can take that parent to court to get make-up time. Without a custody order, the aggrieved parent cannot take the offending parent to court to enforce an order.

Speak with an experienced child custody attorney about your custody options. Even if you agree on custody, you should get an order from the court. It is also a good idea to have a custody attorney review your agreement to make sure it is fair and looks out for your child’s best interests. A custody attorney can help you create a legally enforceable custody order so you can protect your rights.


Do you need help with custody? If so, Williams Law Group, LLC is here to help you. We can be your advocates as you navigate the custody process, ensuring your rights are protected. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get you connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.


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