Child Custody Attorney
Dealing with most child custody arrangements requires knowledge of family and custody laws. Learn about hiring a top child custody attorney today.
Managing child custody arrangements always involves some level of tension and stress. This is true even when divorcing parents are doing so amicably. This is also true when a child must divide his or her time between mom and dad, regardless of the best intentions of either parent.
Divorces are not the only reasons people need to establish a child custody agreement, however. Fathers, grandparents, victims of domestic abuse and child abuse all need their rights protected by someone who is experienced with all aspects of family and child custody laws. Continue reading to learn all you need to know about hiring a qualified child custody attorney today.
The Need for Child Custody Laws
Child custody laws are necessary. While some people find this to be an unfortunate fact, others see the fortunate aspects of these laws. For example, certain parents want to agree on a custody arrangement for the sake of their children but lack the skills and foresight necessary to draft, legalize and enforce one.
Decisions about child custody need to be made with the best interest of each child prioritized. Divorces in the U.S. have increased by approximately thirty-four percent beginning early 2020 through most of 2021. Many parents today, whether married, divorced or other, are also now working from home. The rights of fathers and grandparents must also be taken into consideration.
Essentially, the dynamics of child custody arrangements have changed significantly in recent times. For this reason, child custody laws and the hiring of a qualified family law attorney are vital to ensuring your rights as a parent and the best interests of your children or child.
Domestic Abuse and Other Extreme Circumstances
Child custody laws feel restrictive to some parents, but they serve a necessary purpose in scenarios ranging from normal to extreme. Emotions might cloud the judgment of people going through a divorce. Even when divorce is not imminent or a risk at all, decisions about parenting have the potential to be contentious. When parents combine this often-natural sensitivity and volatility with the massive stresses of divorce, they might overlook the best interests of a child to preserve their own.
Child custody laws make it easier to navigate the complex issues involved in raising a child in two different homes. These laws also help navigate legalities pursuant to child custody, which are weighted in favor of whatever scenario creates the most stable, safe and overall best life for each child involved. Still, these types of scenarios are par-for-the-course in child custody-related situations. Sometimes, the laws serve to protect parents and children from extreme circumstances such as various types of abuse.
Child custody laws protect one parent from abuse perpetrated by the other parent. They also protect children who are victims of abuse at the hands or words of their parent(s). If you are a mother who has received no help from the father of your child, current laws are designed to ensure the father provides ample support (be it emotionally, financially, or other) for all children involved. Child custody laws also protect fathers, however. Yes, they simultaneously help to enforce child support laws/regulations - but specific laws protect father’s rights as well.
Fathers’ Rights for Custody
A Father’s rights pertain to paternity, visitation, and custody. This is true whether the father is married to the mother of his child or not. In fact, unmarried parents are subjected to the same standards, laws and regulations as parents who are. When an unmarried couple enters a custody dispute, however, the father is required to provide paternity prior to the case moving forward.
Paternity tests serve multiple purposes. They protect fathers from losing custody of their child when a mother attempts to deny custody. They also protect someone whose partner becomes pregnant from another person then attempts to hold the wrong man financially responsible. Finally, paternity tests help mothers in need of financial support receive what is needed to best raise a child.
Child Support 101
When a court mandates a custody arrangement between two parents, it also sets in motion requirements for financial child support. Typically, it is the father who becomes responsible for paying child support to the mother. This is not always the case, however, especially in such diverse modern times. The amount of time each parent spends with their children impacts child support payment requirements. The income and expenses of each parent are also considered, in addition to any health insurance needs of each child. Child support arrangements included in custody orders also include aspects pertaining to the:
Education of each child.
Relocation of one or both parents.
Out-of-country travel with a child.
Change in income level of one or both parents.
Visitation Rights of Grandparents
Grandparents of children involved in custody arrangements also have rights. Both children and grandparents alike most often desire to maintain a close relationship if one was previously established. Most courts also prefer this even though grandparents’ rights vary in every U.S. state. While the parents typically have the authority to establish all visitation rights with grandparents, some courts choose to intervene when a positive relationship/scenario is removed from a child’s life unjustifiably. Grandparent’s visitation and custody rights also pertain to situations where one or both parents die, and children need new guardians/homes. This is occasionally contentious, especially in situations where the living parent is not suitable for primary custody but resents his or her own parents or in-laws. For this and many other reasons it is advisable to hire a qualified child custody attorney
What Roles Do Attorneys Play in Custody and Parenting Arrangements?
A child custody attorney practices under the much larger umbrellas of civil and family law. Family law does include divorces and child custody matters but also deals with multiple other types of cases. When you hire a family law attorney for child custody matters, he or she will focus mostly on specifics relevant to child support, visitation, and custody arrangements (as opposed to asset distribution, etc.). The primary roles this type of lawyer plays involve:
Defending the rights of the parent he or she represents.
Proving to a court why his/her client is best suited for specific levels of custody.
Drafting an amicable and legal agreement between two cooperative parents.
Preventing as much emotional damage to the children involved as possible.
How Child Custody Decisions Are Made
Each court creates a child custody arrangement order in accordance with the best interest of each child and applicable state laws. The short and long-term stability, happiness and safety of a child are all prioritized and examined closely. This includes surveying the income of each parent. Social habits of parents are also considered, as are criminal records and histories of substance abuse. All aspects are not always weighted evenly as well. For example, a court is unlikely to award full or primary custody to a wealthy parent with a serious drinking or drug abuse problem simply because he or she has more money. Financial obligations for this parent might be increased, however.
Ultimately, child custody decisions are made based on the best interest of each child. While certain themes are common across-the-board, each situation is ultimately different. To help navigate your child custody situation, protect your rights, and best serve your children, use the following resources to locate a child custody lawyer near you: