Legally you are not required to hire a lawyer to fill out a child custody agreement. However, to ensure that your child receives the best possible arrangement, and to safeguard yourself in the event of a future lawsuit, it is recommended that you do hire a lawyer, advises LegalMatch.
When a couple is divorced or separated, a child custody agreement outlines the guidelines for the custody of the child or children, explains LegalMatch. Such agreements clarify the nature of both the physical and legal custody of the child as well as the visitation schedules for the parent who does not have primary physical custody.
Child custody agreements should always be in writing and should be approved by a judge, advises LegalMatch. If parents have created a custody agreement outside of the court, they should still submit the agreement to the judge to have it legally approved.
Custody agreements that have been legally approved can be enforced under state laws, explains LegalMatch. Violations of such legally approved agreements can result in serious penalties, such as a contempt of court order or the loss of visitation or custody privileges. If breaking the agreement results in harm to a child, it can have criminal consequences for the violator.