What are some advantages and disadvantages of getting a custody order?
There are many reasons people choose not to file for custody. For example, some people decide not to get a custody order because they don’t want to get the courts involved. Some parents make an informal agreement that works well for them. Some parents think going to court will provoke the other parent, or they are worried that if a custody case is started, the other parent will suddenly fight for more custody or visitation rights than they are comfortable with. In some states and territories, unmarried mothers may not need to file for custody if the father’s paternity has not been legally established.
However, a custody order can give you:
- the right to make decisions about your child; and/or
- the right to residency, which means 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. However, if you file for custody, the other parent may also request these rights and it will be up to the judge to decide.
We strongly recommend talking to a lawyer who can help you think through if filing for custody would be best for you, depending on the facts of your situation. You can find contact information for legal help by clicking on the PR Finding a Lawyer page.
Some people think they should file for custody so they can get child support but this is not necessarily true. A custody order will not automatically give you child support, and you may not need a custody order to file for child support. For information on filing for child support, you can contact your local courthouse by going to our PR Courthouse Locations, contact the Administración de Sustento de Menores (ASUME), or talk to a lawyer.