Is the Custody and Visitation Court Order Effective Before it is Signed?

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“My son’s father and I have been in dispute over custody and visitation. I was given temporary custody until our hearing date of November 30th (yesterday). Before the court date arrived, he and I did come to an agreement regarding custody (joint legal is what we agreed upon) and visitation. The visitation order is that he have our son (who’s 5 months old) one weekend day for five hours. He’s going to assume that this begins this weekend. However, I’m not sure if I’m required to honor the agreement when it hasn’t even been signed and entered by the court yet. Do I have custody right now? Can I tell him that he can continue to visit the baby in my home but until we have the signed agreement, he can’t take him out of the house?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Unless you live in a very unusual state, the court order was almost certainly entered into the record as it was being spoken by the judge. If your father’s son were to disobey it, you would have recourse, so there is little reason to deny your son the time with his father. Go with the spirit of the order, which is to allow your son and his father some one-on-one time. I know that it can be hard, but it’s the right thing to do for your son.

Work on fostering the cooperation and at least appearance of trust which is so critical for you and your baby’s father to develop now, so that you can work together for the next 18 years. That kind of cooperation is the one thing which will ensure that your baby grows into a healthy, well-adjusted child, teenager, and then adult. The alternative isn’t pretty.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
Putting Kids First: Walking Away From A Marriage Without Walking Over The Kids

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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