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is there a time that custody papers expire ?

1 Answers. Asked on Jan 12th, 2013 on Child Custody - Pennsylvania
More details to this question:
I left my sons father, we did not go to court , or go before a judge at any time.. we came to an agreement by ourselves,which he had written up by a lawyer, and we both signed at a notary..that was in 2011.. since then he has breeched every stipulation that we agread on.. he doesn't even have him on the days that are his.. my son stays at his fathers moms house, while he is supposed to be in his dads custody.. he is never with his father, during his fathers allotted time.. I was told that our paperwork is only good for a year.. I don't have a lot of money, and every lawyer I've spoke to, won't help me unless they get paid a ridiculous amount of money.. so I was wondering if someone could possibly let me know, if my paperwork is still good or not.
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Penelope A. Boyd at Penelope A. Boyd, Attorney
Licenced in PA
Answered on Jan 14th, 2013 at 1:38 PM

A notarized agreement is not a substitute for a custody order.  Written agreements between parents on custody may work out if the parents are both committed to making an arrangement that works and have little conflict over the agreements.  The agreement may show good intention, but it is not enforceable.  It may seem like having it notarized would make it more official, but it really does not make a difference if the parties are not willing to do what they promise.  That is why there is a court procedure for securing and enforcing custody orders.

if you do not have money to pay for an attorney, you could try to see if you are eligible for legal services.  Another option is mediation, where you and the father pay a mediator to help you work out an agreement which you can then decide to enforce or not.  You might have to pay to file a custody action and for the filing of the agreed-upon order.  Generally, this would be less expensive than filing a custody action with the court.

All custody orders are considered modifiable, that is, they are subject to change, because the courts are looking at the best interests of the children and that can change at any time.

I hope you find a solution to your problem.  Good luck.

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Child Custody
Your children are precious, and issues of child custody shouldn't be treated casually. Even the most amicable splits and custody agreements should be negotiated with the assistance of child custody attorneys and approved by the courts. Once a judge has approved the agreement, changes in custody or visitation, as well as enforcement of child custody agreements, should be handled with the assistance of your lawyer. Child custody law firms can also work with grandparents and other parties other than parents who are seeking custody of a child.
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