What You Need to Know About Child Custody Laws

Going through a divorce and there are children involved, you may be wondering about child custody law, and how you can ensure the best possible outcome for everyone involved. While most custody cases don’t require courtroom intervention, you should still know the ins and out of child custody laws.

Find a Divorce Attorney

Finding and divorce lawyer should be your first step. They know the how the child custody laws work, and can help settle any disputes that arise. If your case does require court intervention they will be able to effectively represent you and your interests, so that you can get the best outcome possible.

  • Ask for attorney recommendations from friends or relatives, this could be an easy way to find a trusted lawyer in your area.
  • You can also check your states directory, which can be accessed online, is another way to find a lawyer suited for your needs. Though this isn’t the only website available here is an example of one such database.
  • When you locate potential lawyers, don’t be afraid to interview multiple options and ask questions about their take on your case. You can also ask if they’ve worked on similar cases, and what the outcome was. This can help give you an idea of if they will work best for you, so you get the best legal help possible.
  • Who Decides Custody?

    Many child custody laws are determined at a state basis, and in the case of a dispute a state court will preside over the hearing and make the determining call in who gets custody. If the children are under the age of 18 both parents are required to file for custody, while if the children are under 21, both parents will be required to provide support in compliance with the Child Support Standards Act. All of which an attorney can walk you though, and help you sort out.

    Who Gets Custody?

    Who gets custody is decided by what the court thinks is best for the child, or children, in question.

    • When parents are separating, the court will decide which one can better provide for the child’s needs. The main concern of the court is to ensure the well-being of the children, and they will decide according to who they feel is in a better position to give the support needed. A lawyer can help you make a better case for yourself, and can help ease your mind if you have anxiety over these proceedings.
    • If there is no evidence that shows mistreatment or misconduct on either parental side, the court can rule equal rights for both parties. For this the court will take into consideration each parent’s history, mental health, financial status, and overall relationship with the children.
    • Married couples who are filing for divorce will automatically receive joint legal custody, although this is usually temporary, unless otherwise agreed upon in the proceedings. Sole custody will only be awarded in this instance if the court finds evidence of it being in the best interest of the child. However, if joint custody is agreed upon, a lawyer can write up an agreement, that can vary between cases, which dictates the specific of the arrangement. This is then approved by the court.
    • If a couple is unmarried, the mother is the one who received custody, unless it is determined by the court to be detrimental to the child.
    • Evidence of excessive drinking, substance abuse, severe mental illness, or past desertion, will show unfavorably in court. However, these charges can be challenged in court, though you will benefit from having a lawyer on your side in this instance.

    Child Custody laws vary from state to state, but the main points to keep in mind are finding a qualified lawyer, and building a favorable case. If the case does go to court, keep in mind that they want what is best for the children involved, which is the what should be first and foremost in everyone’s mind going forward.

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