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Jesse Williams, star of the television show Grey’s Anatomy, has filed for joint custody of his two children after announcing his divorce from his wife Aryn Drake-Lee. Williams reports that he does not get to spend as much time with the children as he would like. The actor indicated in court documents that his estranged spouse “restricts my time with the children and decides when, and for how long I may have them.” He further claimed that he has requested additional time with his children, including overnights, but their mother “has insisted that my time with the children be limited during the week to approximately two and half hours per day.” Williams has requested a court order for joint physical custody of his children.

Television stars are not the only ones who can find themselves in a complicated custodial situation. Many individuals find themselves spending less time with their children than they would like. Unfortunately, some ex-spouses withhold parenting time from the other parent as a way to stay in control of the situation. Studies regarding child development, however, have shown repeatedly that children are happier, healthier, and make better life choices when they have both parents involved in their lives.

A Casual Custodial Agreement is Not Always the Best Choice

Ideally, every parent would be cooperative and compassionate during a divorce.   The focus should be on what is best for the children.  Unfortunately, many parents have different ideas of what is best for the children. Some parents wrongly believe that a casual verbal agreement regarding custody is sufficient. It is not uncommon for a parent to create a custody or parenting time schedule with his or her ex-spouse that is based on cooperation and trust that the other party will live up to the agreement. Without the court’s approval, however, such an agreement is extremely tenuous.

The problem is enforceability, as an arrangement that is drafted outside of the court’s purview does not carry the weight of law behind it. A casual custody agreement may seem to work just fine for a time—while the parents are on good terms with one another. If the relationship sours, however, or one parent begins to disregard the agreement, the other parent has no recourse but to turn to the courts for help. By this point, the proceedings are much more likely to be hostile and more difficult than they might have been if the parents had simply sought a court-sanctioned agreement in the first place.

We Can Help

If you do not currently enjoy the relationship with your child that you think you deserve, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can help you pursue a more favorable arrangement. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 for a confidential consultation today.