Why Having the Right Legal Representation is So Important When Getting Child Custody Legal Help
When a couple decides to end their relationship or marriage, the battle over custody of the children can often be a hard one and in need of child custody legal help. In addition to emotions and frustrations running high during this process, if the case and legal proceedings are not handled correctly, it could mean that neither parent gets what they want in terms of child custody or time with the child or children. For those custody battles that become particularly heated, the court often has no other decision than to resolve the matter on its own.
With this in mind, legal representation is very important when it comes to arranging or fighting for custody of children after a relationship has ended or the couple has divorced. Having an attorney who is well versed in the child custody laws for the individual’s state will be able to easily navigate the legal system and help their client secure an outcome they are happy with. Whether the lawyer is helping with a child custody agreement through mediation or going to court for a battle, their help is invaluable.
Lawyers and Creating a Parenting Plan
One of the easiest ways for parents to approach sharing custody of their children is to come up with a parenting plan outside of the courtroom. This plan is a legally binding document the parents create on their own and agree to when it comes to who will have custody of the children and how the couple will approach making decisions about the child’s upbringing such as their schooling, religious upbringing, medical decisions, and decisions about their social and community life.
Many parents create the plan without the help of mediation or an attorney, but having an attorney review the document before giving it to the family court is very important. The lawyer will be able to read the language being used, make sure there is no confusing jargon, and confirm that both parties agree to the document. For those couples who are on good terms, they can often have one lawyer review the document or each may have their own lawyer look over and review the parenting plan.
Custody Lawyers and Mediation
If parents are unable to agree on a parenting plan, the next step is for them to go to mediation. Mediation is when the couple meets with a mediator, who is a third, unbiased party, and tries to sort through the custody agreement without having to go to court. Often times, mediation occurs without either of the individual’s lawyers being present in the hopes that the couple can come to a mutually beneficial agreement for themselves and the children without any legal influences.
However, should the mediation not be going well or one individual feels like their rights are being violated, it is possible to bring the attorney into the mediation sessions to explain their legal rights and ensure whatever agreement they come to is within those rights. While this may seem very beneficial, it is important to keep in mind that a lawyer’s job is to represent and protect their client so having them present in mediation can a higher level of anxiety than if they were not present.
Lawyers and the Court Room
Should a parenting agreement and mediation not be successful, the final step in the process is going to court to battle for custody. In this situation, it is imperative to have the representation of a legal professional to ensure the individual gets the best possible outcome for the case. A good child custody, family court or parental rights attorney will be able to review the individual’s case in depth, find out what their desires are, and how they align with the law and then build a strong case for them when getting child custody legal help.
Both the mother and the father of children have certain rights when it comes to time with the children and how the parents interact with them. Traditionally, family courts have strongly upheld the mother’s rights and have all but ignored the father’s rights, meaning they were denied custody or visitation time they otherwise deserved. Family court lawyers and even certain lawyers who dub themselves “father’s rights lawyers” can help to ensure that their client’s rights are respected and upheld.
Choosing the Right Child Custody Lawyer for Your Case
Choosing a lawyer to help fight for custody of children is a very important process for many individuals since they want to have custody and time with their children and the best possible outcome for their case. Choosing an attorney can be a stressful process as well, since cases such as these deals with so many highly emotional issues. When parents are looking to hire a lawyer for their child custody case, they should consider the following points before making a final decision.
- References: One of the best resources a parent can use when looking for a child custody lawyer is to seek information from other people. Good references for child custody attorneys include:
- Family members and friends
- Court clerks
- Other divorced parents or strangers who have child custody cases in the court system
- State bar association
- Court’s network of attorneys depending on the state
- Interviews: There will likely be a number of attorneys in the individual’s area and state that advertise themselves as experts in family law and child custody cases. Before making the final decision to hire the first lawyer they find, individuals should take the time to interview as many lawyers as they can to find one who fits their needs. While it is important for the attorney to have knowledge in family law and child custody, individuals also want to find an attorney who works well with them personally.
- Investigate the Attorney’s Reputation: When someone finds an attorney they believe will meet their needs and be a good match for the case, it is still important for them to check the lawyer’s references and make sure they have an upstanding reputation. A few ways this can be done is by checking the attorney directory for the state, which will let the individual know if the lawyer is in good standing with the state bar association. Also, individuals should not be afraid to ask the attorney for testimonials from past clients – if the attorney is upstanding, he or she should have no problem providing this kind of information.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Fire a Lawyer: Because child custody cases are so important, individuals need the best legal team available. If at any point the lawyer is no longer meeting the individual’s needs or holding up their end of the agreement, there is nothing wrong with firing that attorney and looking for new representation.
When it comes to fighting a child custody case in court, mediation, or having a parenting plan reviewed, it is important to enlist the help of a legal professional. Battling for custody in the court room is a very serious and emotional process and one misstep in the legal system can see one or both parents not getting the outcome, time, and custody of their children they were hoping for. An attorney who is well versed in the child custody laws for the state in which the case is taking place in invaluable.