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Can you make your own child custody agreement?

When approaching a divorce, you may think that the only option you have is to go before the judge and let him or her decide who will get custody of your children. This can make you feel powerless, so you may also be wondering if there's any way for you to make these decisions on your own.

You'll be glad to know that this is possible. A court order is typically just used in a contested divorce where the parents can't agree. Both may want sole custody, for example, and neither will back down. Then a judge can make a decision so that there is a fair resolution.

However, you and your spouse are fully able to use mediation and negotiation to come up with a plan on your own. You can then both sign off on it. This is often done with an attorney helping you to make sure that the agreement is legally constructed.

You do have to get the court to allow the decision to stand. This means you can't always get exactly what you want. However, the court is typically not going to stand in the way of two parents who are both on the same page, who want the same thing, and who have both signed the agreement. Permission will be granted and then you and your spouse can start caring for your child in the manner laid out in the agreement. Once this is done, it's legally binding, so you must follow it.

Be sure that you really understand all of your options before you get to divorce court in Texas.

Source: FindLaw, "How Child Custody Decisions Are Made," accessed April 18, 2016

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