Child custody can take many shapes and forms. Some agreements are made in mediation and other times it will take a Family Court judge to make the ultimate decision on who will get custody of the child[ren]. It is also possible for both parents to reach a custody agreement before a court hearing; therefore, wishing to close the case. The following information is generalized, but explains how a child custody case is closed when a private agreement is made.
Closing a Child Custody Case
If your current child custody case has been in mediation, with or without a child custody lawyer, you should call the mediator (or lawyer) and let them know that a settlement has been reached. At this point, the mediator may ask both of you to sit down and explain the agreement to him or her. Any necessary suggestions or changes may be discussed, and after the mediator may help you to filing a motion to close the case. It is likely that the mediator will recommend you to create a solid parenting plan to present the judge with to show him or her that any important details have been covered.
The only person who can close the case is the party who initially filed the petition for custody. So if you originally filed the case, you or your lawyer should file a motion to close it.
When a Private Child Custody Agreement Becomes Legally Binding
If both parents have came to a private agreement regarding child custody, a lawyer may draw up and file a stipulation that lists the agreement. A judge will then review it and sign it; making it legally binding.
It is not uncommon for one parent to agree to the child custody arrangement, but then fail to adhere to their end of the deal. In this situation, you may need to refile the child custody case. This process could include you having to call upon a legal advocate, paying new court fees, and retrace steps you might already be familiar with. If you have any doubts beforehand as to whether or not the other party will hold up to their responsibilities, you should not pursue a motion to close.
Before You Take Your Proposed Plan to a Judge, Talk With a Lawyer First
As confident as you might be in your new parenting agreement made privately between you and other parent of your child, you should first talk with a lawyer to determine what is the right move to make regarding your personal set of circumstances. By remaining patient, and exploring all of your options and possible outcomes to your decisions, you grant yourself the ability to understand the situation in its fullest. Furthermore, it could save you from future financial losses and stress in the event your private agreement does not work out. To learn more about private child custody agreements, you should discuss your case with an experienced family lawyer Bloomington, IL residents trust.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Pioletti & Pioletti for their insight into child custody and family law.