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Judge ordering joint custody?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Is it possible that a judge would order joint custody to a couple who agree that 1 parent should have sole custody? My stbx wants me to have sole custody, he doesn't want the responsibility of being a dad. I'm afraid that I'll get in front of the judge and he'll order joint custody anyway...

post #2 of 9

If you have an agreement, the courts will usually just sign off on it. They aren't interested in stirring up what already works for both parties.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I don't know why I have sudden anxiety about it...the pro-se lawyer said that I have to have a "good reason" for the visitation plan we agreed on instead of the "standard" or else the judge will just order the standard. I'm anxious that the judge could mess up our lives because he thinks he knows what's better for our kids than us. :/

post #4 of 9

In my state at least, you can just write up the agreement and, if both of you sign it, the judge will just sign off on it.  I'm not even sure that you have to see the judge at all if you both agree.


are you just talking about sole physical or sole legal?  I am under the impression that judges nearly always order joint legal unless there is a really serious reason not to, so I'm not sure how that would go if he agreed to give you sole legal.  If a judge *did* for some strange reason insist on joint legal even if he doesn't want it, get it written in that you have decision making power if you don't agree.


Are you worried about your ex changing his mind at the last minute?  If not, I would not worry about it at all-just get it in writing ASAP.

post #5 of 9

As others have said, it isn't likely that a judge would ignore the agreement of two parents. I think you would only have to justify the deviation from the standard order if you and stbx didn't agree on possession of the child.


TX statue §153.007 states:

(a) To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a suit, the parties may enter into a written agreed parenting plan containing provisions for conservatorship and possession of the child and for modification of the parenting plan, including variations from the standard possession order.

(b) If the court finds that the agreed parenting plan is in the child's best interest, the court shall render and order in accordance with the parenting plan.

(c) Terms of the agreed parenting plan contained in the order or incorporated by reference regarding conservatorship or support of or access to a child in an order may be enforced by all remedies available for enforcement of a judgment, including contempt, but are not enforceable as a contract.

(d) If the court finds the agreed parenting plan is not in the child's best interest, the court may request the parties to submit a revised parenting plan. If the parties do not submit a revised parenting plan satisfactory to the court, the court may, after notice and hearing, order a parenting plan that the court finds to be in the best interest of the child.


§153.254(3) specifically identifies "the availability of the parties as caregivers and the willingness of the parties to personally care for the child;" as a best-interest factor in determining custody of children under 3. Given this explicit factor, I would think it easy to argue the standard order is not in the children's best interest (if dad doesn't want the responsibility).


In the event the judge would find the order to be unacceptable as-submitted, I certainly can't guess whether the judge would give feedback as to the specific paragraph of the agreement that needs to be modified in order to be acceptable, but it seems you should at least get some opportunity to adjust it to make it more acceptable. That is to say, it doesn't seem likely that you'd be broadsided by a "too bad, I know better--here's 50-50 custody you didn't ask for" kind of judgment.

post #6 of 9

Agreed.  If he's giving you sole legal custody, the judge won't change what you two have already agreed upon.  I was given sole legal custody of my oldest daughter many years ago by her father and the judge signed off on it without a second thought and it's never been challenged.  

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

Thanks ladies, I'm feeling better about it today. :) 

post #8 of 9
Where I live we just submitted the agreement and the judge signed it and the court mailed a confirmation. It's not your custody issue but we had several non standard items and there were no issues.
post #9 of 9
I just signed divorce paperwork yesterday, I was surprised to see that there was actually a percentage breakdown with multiple options. We checked %10 of time with father %90 of time with mother. Joint legal custody seemed to be the default. My husband also does not want any more time with our daughter than a few hours on the weekends.
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