How Can I Get Custody Of My Child Without Going To Court?

The most important part of a relationship breakdown is ensuring that your relationship with your children is protected and putting them through a court case can be very damaging for them. Wondering how you can get custody of your child without going to court is a very common thought for separated parents and it is definately achievable if you are committed to keeping the dispute outside of court.

Maintaining a civil relationship with your former partner
It may seem difficult when you first separate but staying on speaking terms will benefit your co-parenting relationship in the long run. While some separated parties are able to easily make arrangements for their children and attend joint activities together, most parents find their co-parenting relationship is strained. A useful way to keep the communication lines open without causing conflict is to start a Communication Journal to send with the child between the houses. This can simply be an exercise book or it can be online app such as Our Family Wizard, which enables parents to communicate and roster days through the app.

Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate
The first step to getting an agreement outside of court is to negotiate. You can use a good family lawyer to do this but you can also attempt to do this yourself. Make sure you keep all your proposals in writing, via text or email is fine, so that you are able to refer back to what each party has said in the future. The key to being able to negotiate successfully is to keep your focus on your children if the other person makes a proposal that upsets you, do not focus on what upsets you, think about whether it is in the best interests of the children and bring the discussion back to whether it suits your child or not.

Attend Mediation
If you are unable to reach an agreement between yourselves, you can attempt mediation. Many people are hesitant to attend medaition as they are doubtful they will get an agreement but we have attending hundreds of mediations and more after than not, the parties manage to reach an arrangement that both sides are happy with. Resolving your matter at mediation will save thousands of dollars compared to the cost of engaging a lawyer for court proceedings.

Check out our mediation page for more information on mediations.

Finalise your agreement
Once you have an agreement, you will need to put it into a format so both parties are clear about the arrangements. Make sure that you have addressed every little thing so that there is no dispute, such as times and places for changeovers and what happens on special occasions. You should put your agreement into writing either as a parenting plan or as a consent order. A parenting plan is an unofficial document that is not legally enforceable and a consent order is an order of the court that can be legally enforced.

Check out our How-To Guide, How To Get A Consent Order along with the DIY Consent Order Kit from the Commonwealth Courts website.

Getting custody of your child outside of court can seem impossible but there are many ways you can try to resolve your parenting dispute without resorting to court proceedings. If you are unable to get custody yourself, it is useful to engage a lawyer to help you negotiate. The best family lawyer will know the case law that relates to your particular dispute and can use that to negotiate the agreement for you without having to attend court.

Contact us for more information or to book a free legal advice session to find out your options.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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