What If My Ex and I Agree What Should Happen with Our Children?
Do you and your ex agree about what should happen with your child or children? Do you agree about who will have physical and legal responsibility? Do you agree about visitation? The court will probably make your agreement be the court order. But the judge has to agree that your plan is good for your child or children.
What If My Ex and I Don't Agree?
What if you and your ex can't agree about what should happen with your child or children? The court will decide who gets physical and legal responsibilities. This happens at a "contested hearing." A contested hearing is a trial in front of a judge. You will have to present evidence to the court about why you should get custody. The evidence is usually testimony from parents, teachers, doctors, and other people who know your child, you, and your ex.
The court considers certain factors to make its decision. The most important factor is what the court believes will be best for your child. This is called the "best interests" of your child. "Best interests" is what the judge believes the law and the facts say would be the best for your child. Do you want to learn more about "best interests"? Go to our Best Interests of the Child page.
The court can't order you to share physical responsibility with your ex. You and your ex have to agree if you want to share physical responsibility.
Most people believe it's best for children if parents agree about custody. What if you and your ex can't agree? The court will decide for you. The court will make an order about custody and visitation. The court will make the order based on what the judge believes is in your child's "best interests."
The court may order you to take part in a Family Court program. These programs are designed to help parents, or the court, decide about the children. These are some of the court programs the court could order:
- Home study
- Parent coordination
- Children's panel
- Visitation masters
- Forensic evaluation
Read more about parental rights and responsibilities on the Court's website.