What are the advantages and disadvantages of getting a custody order?
There may be advantages to obtaining a custody order, including:
- Gaining access to your child if the other parent has control of the child;
- Having a fixed custody schedule (telling each parent when they can visit and/or take possession of the child) that is enforceable by the judge;
- The right to make legal decisions about your child; and
- The right to have your child live with you.
Without a custody order, it is possible that you may not have these legal rights, even if you’re the parent that takes care of the child every day. But if you file for custody, the other parent may also request these rights and it will be up to the judge to decide.
There are also many reasons people choose not to get a custody order from a court. Some people decide not to get a custody order because they don’t want to get the courts involved, they have an informal agreement with the other parent that works well for them, or they may think that going to court will result in the other parent being awarded more custody or visitation rights than they are comfortable with. If you decide not to get a custody order, you and the other parent may likely have an equal right to make decisions and decide on living arrangements.