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Can me and my children's father make our own custody agreement without the courts?

Brooklyn, NY |

Me and my children's dad are cordial, however, I am planning to move early next month. He cannot move because his transfer request was denied and he doesn't want to leave his job until he is sure he has another one. His family is already making shady remarks about me moving. I want to know if we can make an arrangement ourselves about visitation, and so forth, and have it notarized. I cannot wait on the courts because I am moving in less than a month.

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Best answer

    While the agreement may have little legal effect, it does spell out an agreement that the two of you are comfortable with. Hopefully, if the two of you stick to the terms of the agreement, both sides will remain happy and there will be no need for court intervention. Imagine, parents making joint decisions for their child, without the need for court.


  2. Clever move. Without a court, you are free to move. Once he figures out the rules, he'll file a "V" Petition and get you stuck.

    Good luck.


  3. You could but it has no real legal effect. The notarization only shows that the person who signed the document is the person. If there is a disagreement between the two of you, he can always go to court and file for custody legally and then your agreement is not worth the paper it is written on. You may think everything will work with the two of you but you see his family already starting to poison the water. Do you think that you will be okay for the next 6 months? He can always change his mind during that time and file for custody and NY would have jurisdiction to compel you to return the child over and to litigate there.

    You can take your risk by moving but just be prepared. That paper is not going to help you.

    This answer is provided as a general opinion to a question posted on an internet forum. This does not create in either party the expectation that an attorney-client relationship has been entered into between the original poster and the Law Office of Reid Seino, LLC. Any information provided should not be solely taken as legal advice but in the context of general information. Please seek legal representation for any specific legal questions.


  4. The agreement is fine until someone doesn't like it and goes to court.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.


  5. There are some issues not addressed this far... Primarily what is your status currently with the father! Are you married" were you ever married? If not then technically legally neither one of you have custody of the child and to a great degree that could be beneficial in you leaving as you could not be charged with kidnapping given he doesn't have legal custody of the child... If however you were married or still are married (legally) then you'd both have custody and if you were to leave he could criminally charge you for kidnapping.

    If you leave the jurisdiction he can still file a havens corpus petition (writ) to force you back into the jurisdiction.

    an out of court agreement has no legal force behind it... And if violated then as a result is utterly meaningless.

    My suggestion would be to be more upfront and figure out a solution all parties can live with... As otherwise you'd likely find yourself in Court.

    However, I'd you chose to ignore my advice keep my firms phone number handy as you might be needing to hire us!

    Good luck!

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