In many legal situations, it is pretty clear that a court order is going to be necessary. When one or both parents are arguing heavily, and simply cannot agree with each other, there might be no other choice. Where there is a lot of conflict, and especially when the safety of a child is at risk — family lawyers should be involved.
There are many times when it seems like a legal agreement is not necessary. If both parents are getting along with each other, and have separated without much bad will, you might think that things can be worked out between each other. Are the children being kept from hearing adult discussions, and able to continue their lives without being disturbed by fighting? An agreement might have even been outlined, where each parent is happy. When both are flexible and willing to accommodate each other, for the sake of a child, it might seem like everything will be fine.
You might be in a situation like the one described above. Maybe there is even an informal agreement in writing. Separated and divorced parents still tend to have lacking communication with each other, and emotions can run hot without much warning. Both parents could be putting the interest of their children before their own needs right now, but things can happen to change this scenario.
It is always best to get a formal agreement as a court order, in case something should happen in the future. This does not mean that you are bad parents, just because lawyers have been involved. Rather, it is there to make sure that everything stays amicable.
What might happen to upset an informal agreement between parents? One of them might find a new partner, and this could cause disagreements between the new partner and the children, or the new partner and the other parent. When another child is born in a new relationship, is can also bring new problems. Where step-siblings and step-children are brought into the situation, problems commonly occur. In fact, this happens so often that it is somewhat of a cliché.
You never know when something might happen that ruins the previously good relationship between divorced or separated parents. Children can often start to play one parent against the other, especially when they are frustrated or spoilt by the new arrangement.
The above examples are just a small sample of the many things that can come along, and ruin an otherwise ideal informal agreement. What can happen next? A litigation proceeding is common, because there is no other way that parents can work things out. If you fail to get a court order from the beginning, it is not possible to enforce all aspects of your own agreement, despite the fact that it was made in good faith by both parties.
When litigation is the only realistic answer to a problem, you can expect to be out of pocket in a big way. Suddenly, in trying to spare yourself and your child the relatively minor process of a court order agreement — you have allowed stressful and costly litigation to come into your life, and that of your child. If you want to avoid possible problems in the future, the smartest thing to do is ask for legal advice right from the beginning, even if both parents are in agreement.