While no family is perfect, it’s vital to make an effort to make things work for the benefit of your children. However, that’s not always easy. Also, when parents divorce or separate, things may become messy. It happens especially when deciding who gets to keep the kids in their care.
You’re surely under a lot of stress and anxiety if you’re in a child custody battle. However, you don’t have to go through this process alone, which is lovely news. You can get a lawyer to help you.
You have often asked yourself, ” what kind of lawyer do I need for child custody?” Of course, the answer is a child custody lawyer.
A skilled parenting lawyer can guide you through the legal process. They can also help defend your rights.
This article teaches you what to know during a child custody dispute and why getting a child custody lawyer or a parenting lawyer is the right move. Keep reading.
The Basic Types of Child Custody
Before going through a child custody dispute, you must know the various types. This will help you understand what you want.
Physical and Legal Custody
Physical custody has to do with one parent having the right to have the child live with them. But often, both parents share legal custody of the child.
Legal custody involves the authority to choose the child’s education and health care. They can also make choices on religion and other vital issues. As such, if you plan on winning full custody, you need to hire a credible child custody lawyer or a parenting lawyer to make your case.
Separate or Split Custody
Split custody is another type of child custody. But it is far less popular. Here, one parent has custody of one or more children while the other has custody of the others. But, courts often prefer keeping siblings together when determining custody arrangements.
A joint custody setting, where the child spends almost equal amounts of time with both parents, is most times preferred by some parents.
Most people claim that this setting lowers the sense of loss that a kid would suffer during a divorce. However, some contend that a single home with full visit rights for the non-custodial parent is better for the child.
Although, courts are wary of granting joint custody unless both parents are in favor. Also, they have to prove they can make collective choices. Parents must also show that they are willing to work for the sake of their children. This decision is because dual custody demands a high level of teamwork between the parents.
Some Factors Court Consider During Child Custody Dispute
The court would want to ensure that the child is in a stable setting where they can adapt to family changes while the custody dispute gets resolved. As such, you and your child custody lawyer must be prepared for every possible outcome
On that note, the court prefers to assign children to homes that prevent them from switching schools. They do this so that the children can avoid breaking up with friends or other formed social ties.
With that said, before awarding child custody, the courts consider many factors. Below are some of these factors.
The Total Fitness of the Parents
A judge must know a parent’s physical and mental fitness for custody. The court will consider a parent’s mental state and any prior convictions. It will help the court know if the parent can make wise decisions.
The court will add therapy sections to the parenting plan to confirm if the parent is fit mentally.
Also, the court will look into the physical fitness of the parent to see if they are healthy. They won’t want to give custody to a parent with terminal sickness and a short lifetime.
The court’s major aim is to ensure the safety of the child. So they would be cautious if giving one parent custody or visits would put the child in danger.
One concern that often comes up is when one parent suffers from addiction. Another problem is if one parent has a history of domestic violence or abuse. If the court sees that, their first action is to ensure the child’s safety.
On that note, the court may permit supervised or limited visits for the parent with these issues.
In cases where your ex-partner accuses you of these issues during a custody battle, don’t sit it out and get a lawyer for child custody.
The reason is that even if the claims are untrue, they may harm your parental rights. As a result, it affects your chance of getting custody of your child. As such, you and your lawyer should gather profound evidence to trump the claims.
The Child’s Bond With the Parents
Once more, the court will look into how well the child gets along with each parent. Again, the reason is that one parent may have a much closer bond with the child as a result of their spending more time together.
On that note, separating the child from such a parent will worsen their already tough situation. So if a child has such a personal bond to one parent, courts may share custody unequally.
But remember, the court won’t want to stop the child from bonding with the other parent. In such cases, the court may approve joint custody.
The Child’s Choice to have Child Custody Lawyer
After the parents’ divorce, the child may choose which parent they want to live with. And when the case gets to the court, the judges may question the child to learn about their own choice. So it depends on the child’s maturity and age level; the court may consider their wishes.
But most judges are aware that some parents control nature. This nature can affect the choices that young children, as well as older ones, make. For instance, some of these parents will say ugly things about the other parent to create a rift between them. As a result, the child will declare their desire to live with them.
With knowledge of these cases, the court will consider other factors.
The Parents’ Living Arrangement
The court is often flexible in housing situations but doesn’t take it for granted. So ensure that during the custody battle, you and your lawyer are ready to show that you can afford a home with plenty of space for you and your child.
If you don’t have one, that’s an issue. For example, sharing a relative’s studio apartment won’t help you. It will only show that you’re unfit for your child.
Also, ensure that the house you get is closer to your child’s school and friends. As a result, your child doesn’t have to break ties with them or change schools. The less a child’s usual schedule is not disturbed, the better because the court prefers to keep things easier for the child.
Bottom Line: Get Prepared
When going through a child custody dispute, you need to be ready. And to do that, you need to prepare for anything.
Getting prepared entails doing your research. It also means retaining the services of an expert child custody lawyer.
More than anything else, don’t assume that the judge will view your case from your viewpoint. Instead, you and your child custody lawyer should look at the factors mentioned above that the court will consider and work towards it.
The only thing the court wants is what is best for the child. So if you make it clear that you share their single focus, it can strengthen your case.