Raising children can be an exciting and fun experience—but not all co-parents stay together for the long term. When you and your child’s other parent split up, you may need the services of a child custody attorney. Whether you were married, in a relationship or otherwise, your right to see and raise your child can be affected by child custody considerations.
Here’s an overview of why and when you need a child custody attorney.
Types of custody
There are two types of child custody: physical and legal. Physical custody is when a parent physically cares for the child—that is, when they’re responsible for the day-to-day tasks of raising a child. Legal custody is the right to make decisions about the child, including educational, religious, social and healthcare decisions.
Both types of custody can be shared. In some cases, they may be awarded exclusively to one parent. This depends on a number of factors, such as the parent’s suitability as a parent, criminal history and more.
Visitation is different from custody. The child may stay primarily with one parent, but see the other parent for a certain amount of time each week, month or year. A parent could have shared legal custody and still only have visitation with their child.
Again, this is all decided on a case-by-case basis, depending on what’s in the best interest of the child. That’s why it’s so important to work with a lawyer—they can help you present your case in the best light possible.
When to hire a child custody attorney
In many cases, parents are able to come to an amicable agreement about who will care for the child and when the other parent will visit. That’s admirable—but until you have a court-ordered custody agreement in place, you won’t have any legal backup to enforce it.
Here’s when to hire a lawyer:
- When your child’s other parent has retained a lawyer: If the other parent has a lawyer, you need a skilled child custody attorney to advocate for your interests as well.
- When the other parent plans to move: Sometimes the other parent needs to move for work, school or some other reason, which can make sharing custody impossible. This situation requires an attorney.
- When you know of or suspect abuse: If you or your child have been abused—or you suspect abuse—you need an attorney to help present your case.
- When your personal history is less than clean: Many people have skeletons in their closet. A good child custody lawyer can help show the court that you’ve changed and grown.
- When you need to modify the custody agreement: Sometimes parents simply need to modify the court-ordered agreement to account for new circumstances. It’s best to have a lawyer on your side, even if it’s amicable.
These are just a few of the reasons to hire a child custody attorney, but anytime custody is at stake, parents should consider hiring legal help. Call the Law Office of Rob Biggers to talk to an experienced lawyer today.
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Categorised in: Family Law