A follow up question to the above inquiry is if the court bypasses our existing custody agreement, can I sue my former wife for breach of contract - in that she did not abide by various provisions in the existing agreement (including not using a mediation service to first attempt renegotiations?)?
It is considered a binding legal contract, however the court always has jurisdiction over the custody issues. If the court believes that your custodial arrangement is not in the best interests of your child, they can change it.
If you wish to participate in mediation and litigation has been filed in Wake County, you will be required to participate in court ordered mediation.
Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax
301 McCullough Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Phone: (704)307.4600
Main Fax: (704) 9343.0044
Durham & Chapel Hill Office
1829 East Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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My former wife and I settled out divorce out of court and wrote up our own custody agreement. Basically we just took an existing custody agreement sample that had been drawn up by an attorney and filled in the blanks with information that was appropriate for our own purposes. We had the document notarized.
I had the understanding that this document was a legally binding contract, but from what I watched on one of the Rosen videos on custody issues, the document may not amount to much of anything. Specifically, Mr. Rosen stated something to the effect that if either party decides they no longer want to abide by the agreement and pursue getting a brand new one through court, they can initiate a custody suit - and the judge will likely not pay attention to the existing agreement.
Is this correct? If it is, I wonder why I bothered to work so hard for so long to reach an agreement with my former wife if the agreement isn’t considered legally binding.
For example, our custody agreement states that if either party wishes to modify any provision of the agreement, both parties must attempt to use professional mediation first before taking the issue to court. My former wife has initiated a custody suit against me for full custody and wishes to change almost everything in the agreement we had come up with. I’m confused. Is our existing (non-court ordered) agreement considered a legal contract or not?