Pennsylvania estranged parents don't necessarily need to go to court to resolve their child custody issues. Instead, it may be possible to do so through informal negotiations or through alternate dispute resolution methods such as mediation or collaborative law. In many cases, child custody issues are resolved before it becomes necessary to ask a judge to make a ruling. In fact, parents may be able to resolve a child custody matter without the need for attorneys.
It is important to note that informal talks or other alternate methods generally work best if parents are willing to negotiate in good faith with each other. However, for those who are willing to work together, it may allow each person to take an active role in the talks. It may be necessary for parents to at least try to negotiate between themselves before a judge will agree to issue a ruling.
Once an agreement is reached, it is generally put into writing and included as part of the overall divorce settlement. This is generally true whether parents engage in private talks, use mediation or make use of collaborative law methods to settle a child custody matter. The agreement must typically be shown to a judge and approved by the court before it becomes official.
The best interests of the child are generally the top priority when a child custody ruling is made. This is typically true whether the parents resolve the matter on their own or if a judge makes the final determination. Parents who are in a dispute regarding visitation rights, custody rights or anything else related to raising their children may wish to speak with an attorney. An attorney may help an individual preserve his or her rights or review agreements negotiated outside of court before they become binding.