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.

child custody legal helpWith 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.

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12 thoughts on “Getting Legal Help in a Child Custody Battle”

  1. I never thought about meeting with a lawyer to make a parenting plan. That sounds like a great way to show the judge you are serious about taking care of your kids. It can help with shared custody and maybe even winning full custody.

  2. It’s helpful to know that even if both parents agree with a parenting plan, having a lawyer review it first is important so that there aren’t complications later. My brother and his wife are probably separating this year, but they want to make sure their kids are shared fairly between them. Making sure that the situation is resolved properly now might help avoid issues later.

    1. It is absolutely necessary. One of the biggest problems that comes up is a temporary parenting plan / temporary visitation order that does NOT detail all of the parenting responsibilities properly and leaves out numerous situations, problems, and ways to modify or enforce the agreement through the court or through mediation.

      Most judges worth their salt will not allow an insufficient parenting plan to be entered for numerous reasons, sometimes out of their own self-interest, such as having hundreds of cases on their docket already and not wanting people with bad parenting plans to end up before them again in a year because of an obvious problem that they easily could have foreseen had the order been entered with significantly more detail.

      Thanks for pointing this out, many people have the misconception that if they write down on paper: Dad has the kids every other weekend and mom has the kids the rest of the time”, sign it, notarize it, and maybe get a judge to sign this, that all the issues are solved, when in reality, the storm is on the horizon. Child custody attorneys and family law lawyers are essential to ensure parents have their rights enforced and upheld – and it is in the best interests of the children to do so.

  3. I really appreciate your tip that you should have a lawyer read a parenting plan to make sure it makes sense and is fair. My sister is currently going through a divorce and it is going pretty well, but I am worried about the custody case and how that will go down. They both love their kids so much, and I know they will fight for them. I wonder if they should look for family law attorneys who would fit their needs and help them talk through this challenging issue.

    1. They should absolutely have an attorney handle at the very least the paperwork. The documents that can be obtained at the courthouse or online for $150 are what you would expect for that price or for free – garbage. They will nt be detailed and handle the big issues that need to be resolved to avoid fights in the future. All is well now, but how about when one of them gets a new fiance?
      It needs to be detailed and signed while they get along to avoid problems in the future. Good for you looking out for them.

  4. I didn’t know that you could use a lawyer to come up with a legally binding parenting plan outside of the courtroom! I have a friend who is currently looking at his legal options in his child custody case. I’ll be sure to pass this information along to him to make sure he makes the best decision for his family during this hard time.

    1. As long as a parenting plan covers the minimum essentials that the state requires (custody, communication, removal/relocation, schooling, medical/health, and other factors), it should pass muster. However, it will NOT be binding or enforceable if not entered by a judge. The two parties can sign it and agree, but it must be entered by the judge or else it is not enforceable.
      It could be used down the road to show the judge that you two had an agreement and now one party isn’t following it, but that doesn’t make it enforceable, ti would just show the judge what works and that maybe, if the judge agrees, the parents should return to that plan again.

  5. I thought that it made sense when you said that one thing to consider when looking to hire a professional attorney for your custody case is to make sure to hold interviews and find someone that has a good experience and track record. I remember watching my friend go through the child custody process without hiring a good attorney and she did not end her case successfully. I would be sure to do my research and hold interviews to find someone who will know what they are doing and help you win.

  6. Thanks for this advice for getting help with child custody. It’s good to know that having an attorney help review a parenting plan is very important. This seems useful especially if they can help the parents come to a better plan that both will like more.

  7. I like how you said to investigate an attorney’s reputation. My sister is looking for a lawyer for her custody case. Thanks for the tips on getting legal help in a custody battle.

  8. levticus Bennett

    My sister is getting divorced and she wants to be able to see her kids but she also has a lot of work to do. I think that interviewing a lawyer first will be the best way to prepare for her. We are going to look for an attorney that can help ensure that my sister gets custody of her kids.

  9. I have a friend that is in the middle of a difficult divorce, and she wants to make sure the children are okay. I like the tip you give of conducting interviews with potential child custody attorneys to choose the one that will fit the best with your situation. I knew consultations were important, but I think interviews are a good idea as well. I imagine that it would also be important to not only focus on their reputation and skills, but also on their personality. That way, you will be able to work on a more personal level.

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