When you're seeking a divorce in Pasadena and still have a fairly decent relationship with your ex, it's tempting to want to skip hiring a lawyer entirely and just work things out between yourselves. Unfortunately, you need to be very cautious when taking this approach if you have minor children together.
It's quite possible to come to a civilized agreement regarding the distribution of marital assets and debts. But issues surrounding child custody are much more complex. Children do best when there is stability in the home, and it can be very hard to keep the best interests of your children in mind when you're feeling angry or hurt about the end of your marriage.
Another problem with informal custody or child support agreements is that they have no legal standing. If an agreement is not the result of a court order, this means you can't enforce it. Even though you and your ex may be in agreement now, it's hard to predict what will happen in the future. One of you might be offered a high paying job in another state, thus putting a kink in the custody arrangements you initially agreed on. One of you might have health problems or a sudden change in income that would affect the proper support amount. It's also common for opinions regarding custody and child support to change when one spouse gets a new romantic partner, especially if the new partner has children of his or her own.
To give yourself the necessary legal protection, you need to put your agreement in writing and have it filed with the court. This is what happens with divorce mediation, but it doesn't matter if you actually used a mediator's services.
If you have questions about issues relating to child custody and child support, it is best to speak to a qualified Pasadena divorce lawyer who can provide advice that is tailored to your specific circumstances. A good attorney can also look over the agreement that you and your ex have come up with and alert you to any potential legal problems that might arise in the future.