Child custody issues can be a source of great anxiety for many people considering a legal separation, not to mention the exorbitant legal fees involved in taking such matters to court. While no parent ever intends to get embroiled in a child custody dispute, the reality is that such scenarios are prevalent these days.
While the end of a marriage or relationship means that partners can no longer live together, it doesn’t negate their responsibilities as parents. Usually, a child custody case occurs due to a bitter separation in which there is a lot of finger-pointing.
Such former partners are unlikely to come to an amicable resolution regarding who should have physical custody of the child. A child custody lawyer helps in such a resolution by advising each party about the reality of their case and the best outcome they can expect.
Contacting a child custody attorney Scottsdale offers the best chance of getting fair legal representation as far as such matters go.
As a parent, you may be wondering whether or not you should retain the services of a child custody lawyer. Given the acrimonious circumstances that usually result in child custody cases, you may lose perspective and not know what course of action is the right one.
The following are the main reasons you should consider hiring a child custody attorney.
1. Your Former Partner Has a Lawyer
When your former partner has retained the services of an attorney in your child custody case, the smart move is to do the same. Unless you’re a trained child custody lawyer, you’ll be unfamiliar with many of the laws and regulations that come into play in such cases.
Even when your former partner seems to be negotiating with you directly regarding the issue of child custody, they’re likely getting legal advice from a lawyer. They may have the upper hand during such negotiations, extracting more favorable terms during the process.
As soon as your ex-spouse lawyers up in a child custody case, you should do the same. Your child custody lawyer will be able to guide your negotiations with your former partner, ensuring that you’re not taken advantage of.
2. Changing Circumstances
Things happen that can cause a serious disruption in one’s life. For example, you may have gotten a promotion and have to move far away. This is one of several personal things that can affect the terms of the previous child custody agreement.
As soon as you experience any life event that you think may have a bearing on an existing child custody agreement, reach out to an experienced child custody lawyer. Depending on the specific facts surrounding the life event, a family court judge might be compelled to revisit the terms of the previous child custody agreement.
3. Dangerous or Unsafe Living Conditions For Your Child
While the courts always attempt to make the best decision in a child’s interests, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, your former partner may get physical custody of the child even though they may not be qualified.
Maybe their lawyer was smarter and more conniving during the child custody case. Maybe you had an unrelated criminal charge that ultimately convinced the judge to award custody to your former partner.
If such a partner cannot provide a safe living environment for your child, your only option is to contact a child custody lawyer to remedy the situation. For example, your ex-spouse may not be providing adequate care or may be engaging in activities that compromise the child’s physical safety.
This can include hosting individuals of questionable character or those with known criminal histories at the residence they share with your child. In such cases, hiring a child custody attorney enables you to find a legal way of neutralizing the threat to your child’s safety.
4. Increased Case Complexity
There are many instances when former partners do not need the courts to settle the issue of child custody; both parents simply have a heart-to-heart talk and agree on all aspects of child custody.
Even in instances where the courts are involved, child custody cases can go smoothly with a little compromise from both parties. However, sometimes things can get too complicated. For example, one parent may choose to cede physical custody to the other while insisting on retaining legal custody.
This can create a serious bone of contention. Hiring a child custody lawyer in such instances offers the best chance for a resolution. Such issues also arise when one parent wants to raise the child a certain way while the other objects. This usually involves things like religion. Getting legal representation can help to iron out such issues.
5. As a Precaution
Given how complicated child custody cases can get and all the different circumstances involved, hiring a child custody attorney from the outset is usually the best option. Such a lawyer, having handled numerous such cases previously, is in a better position to anticipate issues that may arise in the future and how to deal with them.
There are instances where one parent, without legal representation, went ahead to negotiate child custody terms with their partner. They later regretted ceding some of the terms but were unable to do anything about it due to enforcement by the courts.
Hiring a child custody attorney from the very beginning of the case ensures that you do not make decisions that will come back to haunt you later on.
Can the Child Decide Which Parent to Live With?
It’s not uncommon for children to take sides during a divorce. It may be that a child prefers to live with one parent over the other.
It’s crucial to remember that a judge has the final say in all matters of child custody. A child can express their preference for which parent they’d love to live with. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the judge will entertain this preference.
Of course, several factors come into play when a judge decides whom to award physical custody. For example, a judge is more likely to consider the living preference of a 16-year-old than a 10-year-old, assuming there are no extenuating circumstances that would require dictating otherwise.
All in all, retaining the services of a lawyer in a child custody case is always advisable to avoid unforeseen circumstances.