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    Understanding the Difference Between California Child Custody Agreements and Orders

    At the Land Legal Group, our Los Angeles divorce attorneys know that, depending on family dynamics, and the personal relationship of the spouses in question, some child custody agreements can be easy to accomplish. Others require a court order to finalize.

    Inherently, that is the difference between child custody agreements and child custody orders in California.

    During a custody agreement, the children’s parents create a parenting plan together, and agree on how they will divide custody of the children, either in private, through negotiations with their attorneys, or during mediation.

    Child custody orders are the result of a California family court judge deciding — or ordering — what timeshare agreement they feel is best for the child, without either parent’s consent.

    Depending on your unique circumstances, there are pros and cons to both child custody agreements and orders.

    Here is what divorcing California parents need to know.

    What are the Pros and Cons of a California Child Custody Agreement?

    Child custody agreements have multiple pros and cons that must be considered before parents can begin making decisions about their parenting plans.

    The pros include:

    The cons include:

    • Forcing couples who do not communicate well with each other to make decisions they both can agree to.
    • Lack of legal finality to the decision, leaving room for one parent to change his or her mind, requiring a court filing later.
    • Compromising in areas you are not quite comfortable with, just to put the custody agreement behind you.

    What are the Pros and Cons of a California Child Custody Order?

    Taking your child custody case inside the courtroom has its share of pros and cons, too.

    The pros include:

    • Not being forced to communicate with someone (your soon-to-be-ex-spouse) you are uncomfortable with. Instead, you provide your wishes to your divorce attorney, they are relayed to the court, and the judge makes the final decision.
    • Explaining your child custody wishes to the judge can be less hostile, and more straightforward than speaking with a contentious soon-to-be-ex-spouse. This is especially true if you were married to someone with narcissistic characteristics, as he or she will manipulate your position — no matter what it is.
    • The court will make the final decisions, so you do not have to compromise.

    The cons include:

    • You lose complete control of the decision-making process.
    • Your divorce and child custody proceedings will take longer than an agreement, as you must wait for court dates to become available.
    • Litigation will always cost more than making private decisions or engaging in mediation.

    Do You Have Questions About the Best Child Custody Legal Strategy For Your Family?

    No two California divorces are alike, and neither are child custody cases. Your family dynamics and circumstances are unique, and require a customized legal strategy to pursue the best results. Contact our team of skilled family law attorneys at the Land Legal Group by calling (310) 552-3500 today to discuss your important legal needs, so you can make informed decisions about the direction of your case.

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