Another day, another celebrity split - this time it's Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber. Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts split up after 11 years, by Emily Smith, nypost.com, September 26, 2016. The actors have been a couple for 11 years, but never married. They have two children together - Alexander, age 8 and Samuel, age 7. So far, the break-up seems to be amicable with both parties vowing to do what is best for their kids.
Since the couple never married, they actually don't have to do anything formal (i.e. divorce) to dissolve their relationship. They don't even need to involve the court system at all if they don't want to. And, if they are truly getting along and committed to working together for the benefit of the children, they can probably reach an informal custody agreement with which all parties will be happy. But, things don't always stay amicable forever and, for that reason, Schreiber may want to consider putting a formal custody agreement in place.
According to the article, the parties broke up "because she wants to travel the world making movies and attending film festivals and red carpets, but he is a New Yorker and just wants to settle with their kids." Thus, Schreiber will likely be the parent who is physically with the children most often. But he may not have the same parental rights as Watts? Since the parties were never married, Schreiber may not be considered the legal father. It is unclear whether he legitimated the children after they were born but, if he did not, he would have to first go through that process before he had any custodial rights to the children. Once the legitimation is granted, the parties could then hammer out a formal custody agreement that would detail legal and physical custody of the children and be enforceable in a court of law.