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Verbal agreements about child custody may lead to disputes later

Whether a divorce is amicable or not, it remains a difficult time for parents and children. It is not uncommon for couples to reach verbal agreements, only to then face disputes related to child custody or other contentious matters at a later stage. Although it may seem unnecessary at the time, it may be better to have all agreements endorsed by a Texas family court.

A man from another state is facing a felony charge after reportedly failing to return his child to her mother at the agreed time and date. He pleaded not guilty to charges of custodial interference. It was alleged that the child visited her father in another state, and he was supposed to return her to her mother early in January. Instead, the man allegedly called the child's mother to inform her that he did not intend to return the 2-year-old girl to her.

After the incident had been reported to the authorities, an arrest warrant was issued. The child was reunited with her mother after the man was arrested during February. The man was arrested despite the fact that only a verbal agreement apparently exists relating to joint custody of the child. While on $15,000 bond, the girl's father is awaiting a jury trial scheduled for September. Following this incident, the mother filed for custody of the girl.

Texas parents who are contemplating divorce (or a breakup if they are not married) may want to take note that disputes after a split cannot be anticipated. They may be wise to be proactive and ensure that the safety of their children will not depend on verbal agreements. Parents who find it difficult to reach consensus in child custody matters may wish to seek the help of a mediator to assist them in negotiating contentious issues and resolve them before going to court.

Source: Idaho Mountain Express, "Felony charged in child-custody dispute", , April 30, 2014

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