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What is your relationship to the child?

When spouses break up, there’s a great deal of concern over how the custody of children will be determined. Whether a couple agrees on custody issues or is battling it out in court, it’s important to arm yourself with the right information. By learning more about the procedure for determining child custody, you’ll be better informed and will have a deeper understanding about how the laws will affect your situation.

What Are the Types of Custody

As your child custody lawyer may explain to you, there are two primary types of custody, physical and legal. Following a separation or divorce, the court may grant one parent physical custody, though this won’t necessarily mean that the same parent will have full legal custody. It’s entirely possible that a judge may divide custody between the mother and father, even on a temporary basis. This is why it’s important to have a good family law attorney working with you from the very beginning.

Physical custody refers to the child’s physical residence. In some instances, the child may live solely or primarily with one parent, though the other parent may be permitted visitations with the child. The time the child spends at each parent’s residence may also be a factor in determining issues of financial support. For instance, if the child lives primarily with the mother, the father may be compelled to pay child support to contribute to the costs of raising the child.

Legal custody refers to decisions that one or both parents make in regards to the child’s upbringing. The choice of schools, medical care, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing may be a few of the issues that the parent with legal custody can determine. In most cases, both parents will share legal custody of the child, meaning they must work together and agree upon these decisions. Where one parent violates this trust, the other parent can bring a new custody hearing and explain the situation to the judge.

The Different Types of Custody Arrangements

When you work with an affordable child custody attorney near you, you may have the idea that you will be able to get full custody. However, in most cases, the paternal and maternal rights are only considered in relation to the child’s best interests. Often, judges will try to maintain a situation of joint custody, which allows the child to maintain a residence with each parent. This situation may also mitigate the cost of raising the child, reducing the need for support in some situations.

Joint custody works best, assuming the problems that caused the marriage to fail can be set aside. This ensures that each parent gets the most out of their guardianship of the child and that the child’s needs are met. This situation provides the best situation for the child in that there’s more stability; he or she can see that the family has only gone through some changes. The child still spends time with each parent, whereas a custody battle can leave kids feeling abandoned by one parent.

In instances of domestic violence, parental custody will likely not be shared. Instead, the judge may grant sole custody to one parent, while allowing the other individual visitation rights. In some states, this may be called parenting time, but it essentially means the same thing. This is usually a limited time, during which the parent may spend time with the child. Parenting time can be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the decision of the judge.

How Does the Judge Make Custody Decisions?

Most attorneys would recommend mediation before resorting to a custody trial. It’s better for the couple and for the children, as well as helping everyone to save some time and money. This provides the parents an opportunity to work out arrangements that work best for them without having to subject their kids to a lengthy and stressful courtroom proceeding.

What If the Parents Were Never Married?

Depending on your local laws, a situation in which the parents were never marital partners may affect custody conflicts. In this situation, the mother usually maintain sole custody, unless father assert his rights. For the dad, this often begins with a free legal consultation, which gives him an opportunity to understand what a custody battle will entail without having to commit financially.

Unless he can prove that his former partner is a bad mom, it’s unlikely that an unmarried father can obtain full custody. However, a top recommended legal professional may be able to win partial custody for the male parent. At the very least, a qualified attorney may be able to obtain some form of parenting time. While this may not entitle the father to make decisions regarding the child’s care, it will give him the opportunity to spend valuable time with the child.

Third Party Custody

In other situations, a third party (often the child’s grandparents) may be pursuing an adoption of kids. This happens when the biological parents are unable to fulfill their parental responsibilities, due to death, incapacitation, or incarceration. This is called “third-party custody” and will still require the assistance of law firm, or a lawyer in your area. Professionals who specialize in this area of law will be better equipped to handle this kind of custody arrangement.

How to Choose the Right Lawyer

In any custody situation, your first step should be to start looking for a lawyer capable of answering your questions and providing details that apply to your specific circumstance. Once you find the right attorney, it’s also important to understand how you will be expected to pay for the lawyer’s fees. Usually, you will pay a flat fee, or you may have to pay hourly rates. It’s important to understand how much you’ll be expected to pay for representation.

If you’re having trouble finding a top attorney, try an online search and browse legal websites. This can assist you determining which of the nearest legal experts offer the services you need at reasonable rates. A quick search like this can also reveal previous client ratings and reviews, which can be invaluable information in your attempt to find the right professional to represent you.

Once you’ve narrowed your selection down, you can begin making contact to find out how to arrange a free consultation. The consultation is a meeting that will give you an opportunity to ask questions about your specific custody matter, which will help the attorney analyze your case. Whether you’re pursuing custody, hoping to change a support maintenance schedule, or trying to change custody that has already been established, hiring a skilled attorney can be tremendously beneficial.

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