Divorce is never easy, and it can be even more difficult when child custody is involved. A lot of people don’t even know where to begin with custody cases — after all, it’s not as if you need to hire a criminal attorney when fighting for child custody. But at the same time, when people think of hiring lawyers, they often think about criminal attorneys, rather than the lawyers that would understand child custody laws. Not all divorce attorneys are necessarily the right lawyers to help handle child custody — it’s a complex issue, both legally and emotionally. Indeed, finding the right child custody attorney can sometimes be harder than finding a criminal attorney for a criminal case! With that being said, a great child custody lawyer can be worth his or her weight in gold, and taking the time to know what to look for before beginning your search is important.
Child Custody: Understanding When To Get A Lawyer Involved
There’s a reason why many states have laws regarding when people can file for divorce after their initial separation. For example, Tennessee requires that petitioners wait between 60 and 90 days after drafting a divorce complaint before the divorce itself can go through. In cases involving short marriages in which the parties involved did not share much, this may seem a bit excessive. But if children are a part of the divorce, the process becomes much more complex. In some cases, you may want to hire a child custody lawyer almost immediately, particularly if the separation was contentious. In other cases, it may become clear later that child custody will be an issue. A couple may be completely in agreement about all other matters, but child custody would be where concerns pop up. With that being said, even if you don’t foresee a battle coming, you may want to have a child custody lawyer look over your custody agreement before you finalize anything. Or you may just want to consult about your custody arrangement over the phone, just to make sure that you’re doing what you should, and having your rights honored.
Custody Agreements: What To Expect
Every situation is different, and every child custody agreement will be individualized to the family. However, there are some issues to keep in mind. For one thing, keep in mind that while sole physical custody may make it seem as if one parent never sees the child, the reality is often different. A child may be solely in the physical custody of one parent, but the agreement the parents come to may stipulate that the second parent is guaranteed visitation on the weekends–meaning that the child will see that parent every weekend. Many parents agree that one parent has sole physical custody — but can fight over who makes decisions for the child, regarding their schooling, health, and so on. While much is made of where the child lives, this issue can often be more of a breaking point between parents. With that being said, having a lawyer on your side may make it far more likely that you have your rights represented. This is particularly true for men, who statistically are less likely to be favored by a judge than women.
A Last Note: Putting The Child First
Again, you aren’t hiring a criminal attorney here — don’t feel as if you need to fight dirty. A child’s future is at stake in these kinds of cases, and no matter what your child will be emotionally affected by your divorce. Keep in mind that though you’ll need your rights represented, you won’t want to work with an attorney who would resort to cutthroat tactics that may win your case but negatively affect your child. Work with someone who is dedicated to getting you the outcome you want, while helping you prioritize your child. Compassionate lawyers are out there — just make sure that you talk to the lawyer you’re considering about your needs, to ensure that they’re the right fit for you!