Oral Agreements can be a good start to reaching an arrangement among parents during a child custody matter. However, oral agreements have little meaning in the legal system without written documentation to back them up.
It is important to recognize that oral agreements made between parents that are not reduced to writing or a court order may have an interpretation problem down the road. Therefore, while a conversation or agreement may seem like an understanding at the time, if not properly documented, it may lead to confusion or a misunderstanding later.
The problem with an oral agreement arises when trying to show proof that an agreement exists. Often with verbal agreements it is one parents word against the other and a judge has a hard time finding sufficient evidence to enforce the asserted agreement. BUT, if there is a written agreement filed with the court, a judge will be able to confirm the custody agreement that is in place in the event of conflict.
While there are often fees associated with having your agreement prepared by a mediator or an attorney and filed with the court, these fees are reasonable when compared to the costs of litigation once a disagreement arises.
Therefore to avoid conflict around an agreement you may already have or almost be in agreement about go together to a mediator/attorney and have them help you prepare a written parent plan and custody agreement to be filed with the court.