Child Custody Agreement Without Court

A child custody agreement is made between parents to make decisions about their children’s future. Ideally, it should promote the child’s best interests and ensure that both parents continue to have a meaningful relationship with their child.

If you are considering a child custody agreement in Utah, call Brown Family Law. By working together to create a custody arrangement, parents provide stability for their children. We have successfully represented many families in reaching an agreement without having to go to court. 

Our child custody lawyers understand that every family is unique. We want to ease the anxiety associated with divorce and custody issues so that your family can make the best-informed decision. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you reach a child custody agreement without going to court. Submit our online form or call us at 801-685-9999.

What Does a Child Custody Agreement Cover?

A child custody agreement is a legal document that outlines the terms of custody. This includes details for physical or legal custody. It will outline visitation schedules for children after a separation or divorce. 

The custody agreement typically covers several key areas, including the following:

  • Physical custody: This determines where children will live and who will be responsible for their day-to-day care. The custody agreement will outline when and how long a child will stay with each parent.
  • Visitation schedule: The agreement can outline a visitation schedule. This details when the child will spend time with the non-custodial parent, including holidays and vacations.
  • Legal custody: This gives authority to make major decisions about the child’s health and other important matters. The custody agreement may specify which parent has legal custody or whether it will be shared jointly.
  • Child support: The custody agreement may address the issue of child support. Financial support is paid by one parent to the other for the benefit of the child. It may be specified how much child support must be paid and the schedule for the payments.
  • Dispute resolution: The agreement may include methods of settling disagreements, such as arbitration.

Each custody agreement is unique and will depend on the child’s specific needs and the parents’ circumstances. Parents should work with their attorneys or mediators to create child custody agreements that are in the best interests of their children.

What Is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in Family Law?

In family law, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) refers to resolving disputes without the need for a formal court trial. ADR is often used to resolve issues related to divorce, child custody, visitation, child support, and property division.

Several types of ADR methods are available in family law, including:

  • Mediation: This involves a neutral third-party mediator who helps the parties negotiate
  • Arbitration: This involves a third-party arbitrator who acts as a private judge and makes a binding decision on the dispute
  • Collaborative family law: Each party will work with his or her own attorney and other professionals to reach an agreement
  • Negotiation: This involves negotiating and reaching an agreement without a mediator

The benefits of ADR include reduced costs, increased privacy, and greater control over the outcome of the dispute. ADR may lead to a peaceful resolution. This can be important in family law cases where ongoing co-parenting or other relationships are involved.

The Difference Between “Mediation of Child Custody” and “Collaborative Family Law”

When parents are going through a divorce or separation, they may need to negotiate child custody and other family law issues. Mediation and collaborative family law are two options that can help parents work together for their children.

While mediation and collaborative family law are meant to reach an agreement, there are some key differences between the two. 


Mediation is when a neutral mediator helps the parents communicate about custody and other issues. 

Mediation is a confidential process designed to help the parties work together to find a solution that is in the best interests of the child. The mediator does not make decisions for the parents but instead helps them negotiate and come to an agreement.

Collaborative family law

Collaborative family law involves each parent working with his or her own attorney. The attorney and other professionals, such as child specialists, work to agree on child custody and other issues. 

The goal of collaborative family law is to minimize conflict. This method helps the parents work together to create a solution that is tailored to the unique needs of their family.

In mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party. This party helps the parents communicate and negotiate. However, in collaborative family law, each parent is working with an attorney and other professionals.

Can a Parent Get Full Child Custody Without Going to Court?

When parents separate or divorce, determining child custody can be a difficult and emotional process. In some cases, parents may be able to come to a mutual agreement on custody and visitation arrangements outside of court. This is done through mediation or negotiation with the help of attorneys or other professionals.

In cases where the parents are unable to agree on a custody arrangement, the court may be called upon to make a determination on custody. However, it is important to note that the court’s goal is to promote the best interests of the child. In some cases, this may mean awarding full custody to one parent.

In some cases, a parent may be able to obtain full custody without going to court. This can happen if the other parent voluntarily relinquishes their parental rights. However, this is a rare occurrence. This is typically only done if the other parent is absent or has serious issues that make him or her unable to care for the child.

Can Parents Create an Informal Custody Agreement?

An informal custody agreement between parents may be sufficient if the parents are able to focus on the children and work together. 

Parents should keep the following points in mind when deciding on an informal agreement:

  • An informal agreement is not legally binding; it does not provide the same level of protection as a formal custody agreement approved by a court
  • Without a formal custody agreement, either parent could potentially change his or her mind at any time
  • An informal agreement may not provide a clear framework for resolving disputes or making changes to the arrangement
  • If parents are able to work together, they should document the agreement in writing and update it as needed

You can modify an informal agreement in the future if circumstances change or if either party wants to make changes.

A Utah Family Law Attorney Can Help Your Child Custody Agreement

A family law lawyer or child custody lawyer can be valuable for parents seeking an out-of-court child custody agreement. Here are some ways in which such an attorney can help:

  • Advice and guidance: Family law lawyers can provide legal guidance on the child custody laws in the relevant jurisdiction. This includes what factors courts consider when determining child custody. They can also provide insight into how a judge is likely to rule in a particular case.
  • Negotiation support: Negotiating child custody can be challenging when emotions are high. A family law lawyer can help the parents communicate effectively. The goal is to identify common ground and find creative solutions that work for everyone involved.
  • Drafting the agreement: Once the parents have reached a child custody agreement, a child custody can draft the agreement. This includes outlining the specific terms of the agreement, such as financial obligations.
  • Reviewing the agreement: The attorney can review an agreement to ensure that it meets legal requirements and that the terms are fair and reasonable.
  • Representation in court: When parents can’t agree and need to go to court, a child custody lawyer can represent them. He or she can advocate for the parent’s interests.

A family law lawyer clearly provides valuable legal support. This guidance throughout the process can ease both parties’ stress and anxiety.

The Benefits of Child Custody Agreements Without Court

A child custody agreement without court can be good for parents who are able to work together. Parents can focus on their child’s future by taking a solution-focused approach.

Here are several benefits of a child custody agreement without going to court:

  • Parents have greater control over the outcome of an out-of-court agreement. They can develop a plan that fits their family’s unique circumstances. This may be better for some families than leaving the decision to a judge.
  • An out-of-court custody agreement can be less stressful than going to court. This can reduce conflict and emotional trauma for both parents and children.
  • Going to court for child custody can be expensive, with legal fees, court costs, and other expenses. Reaching an out-of-court agreement can be more cost-effective with fewer legal fees.
  • Going to court for child custody can be lengthy. Court dates are often scheduled months in advance. A custody agreement without court can result in a faster resolution. Parents can work together to develop a plan on their timeline.

A child custody agreement without court can promote a good co-parenting relationship. It requires communication, cooperation, and compromise. Working as a team can lay the groundwork for a more positive and collaborative co-parenting relationship in the future.

Considering the Children’s Best Interests

There are many points to consider when creating a child custody agreement. Ultimately, the goal should be to create an arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. 

Some of the factors that should be considered include:

  • The child’s age and developmental stage
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • Each parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs
  • The child’s preference (if the child is old enough to express one)
  • The distance between the parents’ homes
  • Any special needs of the child

Ultimately, a custody agreement should meet the children’s physical and emotional needs.

Deciding on the Right Option for Your Family

Parents should understand the different options available to them, including alternative dispute resolution. This includes mediation and collaborative family law. 

Parents should consider the long-term impact that a court custody battle could have on their children. This includes the children’s well-being and relationship with both parents. Thus, they should consider the impact on the family and how it might affect their future as co-parents. 

The thought of going through the court system can be daunting and exhausting for both parties involved. By taking a thoughtful approach, parents ensure their child’s emotional needs are met during this difficult time.

Is your family ready to take the next steps toward an amicable custody resolution? The attorneys of Brown Family Law are prepared to support you every step of the way. We have experience in handling these types of cases. 

Our attorneys can help ensure that your agreement is fair and protect your rights as a parent. Click here to schedule a consultation through our online form, or call 801-685-9999.

Published On: April 4th, 2023Categories: Child CustodyComments Off on Child Custody Agreement Without Court
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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