how to get temporary custody without going to court

How to Get Temporary Custody Without Going to Court

Getting temporary custody of your kids without going through an acrimonious court battle is possible. There are several alternatives that allow parents to reach custody agreements through cooperation rather than litigation. This guide will explore options like mediation, collaborative law, and parenting coordination to help you secure a temporary custody arrangement out of court.

Understand Your Situation

Before pursuing an alternative path to custody, you need to realistically assess your circumstances. Consider the following:

Your relationship with the other parent – Do you communicate effectively and respectfully? Can you have productive conversations about your child’s wellbeing? A cooperative relationship sets the stage for successful alternative dispute resolution. High-conflict relationships may require litigation.

Your child’s needs – What arrangement is in their best interest for things like school, medical care, support system proximity and maintaining relationships? Document details about schedules, capabilities, vulnerabilities and preferences.

Get legal advice – Consult with a family law attorney to understand your rights and obligations. An lawyer can review your case details and options.

Getting clarity on your situation first allows you to confidently move forward with alternatives to court for custody disputes.

Explore Alternatives to Litigation

There are several constructive options to resolve temporary custody outside of court. Let’s explore processes focused on the best interests of children rather than adversarial winner-take-all approaches.

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Mediation involves working with a qualified neutral third party to facilitate communication and guide you towards equitable compromises. Here’s how it works:

Finding a mediator – Seek referrals from attorneys or mediation centers. Ensure mediators have family law expertise and meet your state’s qualifications.

Preparing for mediation – Gather pertinent records and think through positions, interests and options. But stay flexible; creative solutions often arise.

The process – You and the other parent meet with the mediator, identify common interests, communicate needs, and generate solutions. Agreements reached are formalized.

Mediation can avoid hostility while giving you more autonomy over the outcome.

Collaborative Law

Want a team effort without the expense of trial? Collaborative law assembles attorneys and specialists to resolve issues through open information sharing and interest-based negotiation.

Assembling a team – Each parent has a collaboratively-trained attorney. Child development or financial specialists may join. Everyone commits to settling out of court.

Good faith negotiations – Through a series of meetings, options are explored that prioritize the child. Transparency and creativity drive compromises agreeable to both sides.

Reaching resolution – Ultimately you reach a customized co-parenting plan outlining custody schedules, transitions, holidays, etc. Agreements become binding orders.

Collaborative law emphasizes cooperation over confrontation – an appealing option for temporary custody disputes.

Parenting Coordination

Can’t agree with your ex on important parenting decisions? A parenting coordinator (PC) helps high-conflict parents implement custody plans, facilitating compromise without court intervention.

The PC’s role – This neutral third party professional provides education, mediation, and dispute resolution around visitation schedules, discipline, medical needs and more.

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Referral sources – Many courts keep rosters of qualified parenting coordinators. Attorneys and mediators may also provide referrals.

The process – The PC gathers background, conducts interviews, facilitates productive communication, and helps craft agreements. Recommendations may be made when needed.

Parenting coordination is very effective in defusing ongoing conflicts and keeping kids out of the middle.

Draft an Agreement

Once you’ve reached a temporary custody compromise through one of the above processes, formalizing the specifics in writing is essential.

Components to include – Custody type and schedule, visitation terms, transportation duties, vacation plans, medical/school decision-making, communication plans, etc.

Use sample templates – Several online resources provide state-specific temporary custody agreement templates. These ensure you cover all bases.

Consult an attorney – While not required in all states, having an attorney review the agreement may help avoid any loopholes and ensure enforceability.

Thoughtfully addressing key custody issues upfront provides clarity going forward.

Formalize and File the Agreement

Once signed, take steps to formalize and record the temporary custody agreement:

Notarize signatures – Notarization helps confirm the identity and willingness of both parent’s entering into the agreement.

File with courts – Check your state’s requirements on filing custodial agreements with courts. This aids enforcement if needed.

Update as necessary – As circumstances evolve, work cooperatively on any needed revisions like schedules or exchange locations. Document all changes.

Undertaking the right formalities gives your out-of-court custody agreement legal teeth, if ever needed.


Key Takeaways

Alternatives like mediation, arbitration, online services, and collaborative parenting coordination allow parents to obtain temporary custody orders without litigation by promoting cooperation.

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Next Steps

Consider your situation and research options thoroughly before initiating your chosen alternative process to develop mutually agreeable temporary custody arrangements.


Can we modify this temporary agreement?

Yes, as long as both parents agree. Revisit it together as needed when situations change. If you encounter disputes around modifications, re-engage alternatives like mediation.

What if the other parent violates our agreement?

Document all violations thoroughly. Consult your attorney about filing a contempt motion to compel compliance. The court can impose sanctions and enforce original terms.

Does this address child support too?

No, temporary custody and child support involve separate legal proceedings. You can pursue child support arrangements separately through your state’s guidelines.

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