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Can a parent draft a child custody agreement here in CA without filing divorce and the use of a mediator or Judge?

Moreno Valley, CA |

My x-wife sent me a child custody agreement but we have not filed for divorce. I do not agree to her terms and hers to mine.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Then you need to file for divorce or legal separation. The longer you wait to assert your rights to see your children, the less interested a judicial officer may deem you (whether it be truth or not). Regardless, even if you two did agree and sign it, there would be no legal way to enforce any violation thereof unless it was made a Court order.

    Attorney Williams practices FAMILY LAW throughout the State of California and may be reached at (831) 233-3558 and offers free consultations. The response provided in this forum is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information offered in this response is for general informational purposes only and should not be relied upon without further consultation with a legal professional after all relevant facts are disclosed and considered. DANIEL S. WILLIAMS, ESQ. LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL S. WILLIAMS 500 LIGHTHOUSE AVENUE, STE. A MONTEREY, CA 93940 (831) 233-3558 -- OFFICE (831) 233-3560 -- FAX


  2. If you do not agree to the order, then no reason to sign it. On the other hand, if you are not being allowed to see your children as you wish, then maybe you should be filing for divorce and a Request For Orders for the court to determine custody and visitation of the children. And yes, a party can draft up an agreement, but, as no divorce was pending, the draft would have no legal effect other than to give the court direction as to what the parties agree to or have agreed to at some point, was reasonable visitation and custody orders, at least as of the time the agreement was signed. If you wish, you may contact my office for a free consultation. (951) 686-1010. We are in downtown Riverside.


  3. A parent can draft whatever he or she wants, but you should not sign it if you do not agree with it. And even if you did sign it, it will not be enforced without it being made a court order. If I were you, I would file for a divorce and file a Request For Orders concerning child custody. Since you are already referring to your wife as your "x-wife" even though you are not divorced, it is clear you are ready to move on with your life and are ready to file for divorce. Having a court order concerning child custody would be beneficial in your situation since you and your wife do not agree on what custody arrangement is in your children's best interests.


  4. There are many self help options available online and otherwise, including Nolo Press which has a book solely on Custody Agreements. You should acqaint yourself with the details of what each of you are asking for. In any event a court case must be filed to make a custody order whether you and the other parent agree to it or not. California courts offer a form of mediation for the parents. This should be helpful once your case is filed. But you should "do your homework" and be prepared to justify what you are akding for.

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