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Should You File a Lawsuit if Custody Disputes Persist After Court Order?

Uncategorized Jul 13, 2017

Filing a lawsuit when you & your ex continue to argue over custody issues after a court order has been issued is not always the best plan.

If you and your ex have already received a court order where the court has dictated what sort of custody plan you're sharing with the other parent or what parenting time and child support looks like, hopefully things will be settled for a while.

In many of my cases though, even after the court has issued an order, parties still end up getting into arguments and falling into dispute. A lot of these people in the middle of disputes with their exes come to me and their immediate knee jerk reaction is wanting to file a lawsuit.

So if you've ever been to family court before you know already that filing a lawsuit is not the path of least resistance. In most cases it takes a lot of energy, money, time and patience. It can be overwhelming.

So when people come to me and tell me 'my ex and I are not getting along because of X,Y & Z' I almost always ask them if there is a way that we might try to work this out with your ex before returning to court and my filing a lawsuit.

In fact in a lot of cases I've looked at the original order that the court entered because there are provisions and they're saying that the parties have to go to mediation or some sort of alternative dispute resolution prior to filing a lawsuit. By all means if that provision is included in the court's original order, then I tell my client they have to do that.

There are a handful of cases nowadays where there's not a provision requiring mediation prior to filing a lawsuit. It's almost always my advice to a client or potential client that we should see if we can work it out first. Because that is the path of least resistance and there are cases where parties are able to reach agreements without having to file a lawsuit.

What it looks like is if you approach the other person which you can do in person, via email, via text if that is how you communicate with that person. If you've hired an attorney then you can have your attorney write a letter to that person or their lawyer. You can say these are the issues that we are experiencing, this is my proposed solution and can we talk about it.

If you're able to work it out then what ends up happening is you file an agreement or stipulation with the judge saying we've decided to make changes to your original order. We agree on those changes and these are what the changes are. In most cases as long as those changes are in the best interest of your child and they're fair, the judge will sign off on them.

No court required, minimal attorneys fees instead of going straight to the mat and boxing it out with the other party think about whether there is the possibility of working it out. And even if you think there is no way we can work it out, I've been shocked in some cases and it doesn't hurt to try.

You could save yourself a lot of time and heartache potentially by just trying.