Is a verbal agreement binding regarding child custody? 21 Answers as of June 21, 2013My ex-wife and I have a court ordered drop of location for our daughter. For the past three years, we have had a verbal agreement to change that location during the winter months and leave it the same in the summer months. She now wants to go back on that agreement.
Law Offices of Julie A. Ringquist | Julie A. Ringquist
The only court orders are ones that are filed with the court and signed by the Judge. The order stands as written. If you agree to change the orders, you should file a Stipulation and ask the Judge to sign, thereby making a new court order. Many parents agree to modify the court orders, but they should at least confirm it in writing between them, even if not signed by a Judge. If you end up back in court over this issue, the Judge will consider the evidence of a change in the agreement, but a temporary change, without even a writing to prove the agreement was made is unlikely to convince the Judge to change the current orders if both parents don't agree. Without it in writing, and with the two of you disagreeing what the agreement was and how long you both agreed it would go on, how is the Judge to know exactly what the terms of the verbal agreement were?
Answer Applies to: California
Law Office of Barton R. Resnicoff | Barton R. Resnicoff
I assume that the two of you have acted upon this informal agreement. It can be recognized as such, even though a Court can, if it is best for the child, modify it. The informal agreement is some proof as to what is best for the child.
Answer Applies to: New York
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
Generally, no because nothing involving children on a prospective basis is ever nonmodifiable if the best interests of the child justify a change. Your situation doesn't involve a question of whether the verbal agreement is binding; it involves a question of whether it is best for the child to continue honoring the agreement. Since you never got the original court order modified, if you want to compel compliance with the verbal agreement you need to return to the court and convince the judge to modify the previous order based on the fact that the verbal agreement has been followed for 3 years and that that should continue.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Peters Law, PLLC | Mark T. Peters, Sr.
Your verbal agreement is only as good as the paper it is written on. You may use the past practice as evidence in a motion to change the custody order, but it does not sound like this rises to the level of a substantial change that would cause the judge to make a change.
Answer Applies to: Idaho
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
A court order is a court order. If you are asking if you can both agree to do something else, certainly you can and in fact most custody orders expressly give you that power. But, the orders of the court are what the judge will look at/read and enforce if there is no agreement.
Answer Applies to: Texas
The Legal Center | Richard Manwaring
The verbal agreement is not enforceable. However, if the matter were to go back to court the judge would probably agree with you to change the drop off location provided there were not reasonable reasons for the exchange location to remain as ordered.
Answer Applies to: California
Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
Most visitation and custody agreements state that you can do what you want as long as you both agree, and when you don't both agree, then the terms of the written agreement control. If she no longer wishes to honor the verbal agreement, even though you've been operating under that for 3 years, then until you get the written order changed, you will need to go back to what the court ordered. If the written arrangement is truly burdensome, you can ask the court to modify it.
Answer Applies to: Alabama