VICKIE LYNN COCHRAN attorney at law
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Custody papers are needed when parents don't agree

A woman recently wrote about her child custody situation, saying that it helped to ignore the custody agreement and focus on her daughter. The article gained a lot of traction as a way to show that custody agreements aren't needed, but reading between the lines showed that it also told the opposite tale.

The way that the woman and her ex got by without using the agreement is that the were willing to compromise. Here are two examples that she used:

-- If the girl needed additional cash in her fund at school to buy her hot lunch, whichever person thought of it first just put some money in, without worrying about who did it last time.

-- If it was a holiday, they didn't worry about where the girl was, as long as she was with family on either side.

It's great that this couple could make that work, but the fact that they can do it doesn't mean child custody agreements aren't needed. The fact of the matter is that most parents don't do this, and that's exactly why the official agreements help.

What if one parent never paid for hot lunch? Is it really fair to have only one person carrying the full load? Or what if one parent took the girl for every holiday? Would it really be fair to have her never spend a single Christmas with the other parent?

For this couple, compromise may have worked because they both appeared to have enough money and time to not care if things were fair. That's terrific for them, but it's actually quite important for most parents in Arkansas to know what rights they have when things don't work out this easily.

Source: Huffington Post, "What Happened After My Ex-Husband and I Threw Away Our Custody Agreement," Candice Curry, accessed Nov. 24, 2015

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