Why Good Legal Counsel is Important When Dealing with Child Custody Cases

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It’s believed that half of all marriages in the USA end in divorce. That may have been true at one point in time, but the picture is not as grim as that. The latest statistics show that the divorce rate has dropped by 18%. Even though it has decreased, the divorce rate is still higher now than in previous generations. 

family-kid-photo

Source: pixabay.com

There is no shortage of statistics on marriage and divorce. It’s not the numbers that matter much, but the impact of divorce on children. While almost all couples will claim they want an amicable divorce for the sake of their children, many divorces are anything but amicable. Parents are always willing to battle it out in the courtroom for custody of their children. However, this could drag on for years forcing you to make several court appearances; something that many parents don’t want to go through, and don’t want their kids to go through. If you are going through a divorce or contemplating one, you may want to know how a custody trial works, how visitation rights are decided, and other aspects of child custody. Here is an overview:

What is custody?
When a couple divorces, children under 18 years of age need to be under the physical care of one of the parents. Deciding which parent to live with usually happens in one of two ways:

  • The parents reach a decision on their own, making an informal agreement, often with the help of an attorney. The agreement reached is in the form of an informal settlement.
  • The court or judge reaches a decision on custody and visitation rights. Visitation is granted to the parent who does not have physical custody of the child. A court order usually involves the court looking into the private matters of both parents.

Types of custody
There are different types of custody each entailing different restrictions. It is strongly recommended to hire a lawyer who is well-versed in custody law. This is important because the laws may differ from state to state. is the various types of custody include:

parents-fight-unhappy-kid-pic

Source: pixabay.com

Joint custody:

Both parents are actively involved in the raising of a child. Children may spend half the year with one parent, and the other half with the other. This could be joint physical custody of just legal, or both.

Physical custody:

When it’s decided which parent will be the custodian of the child. The other parent will also have a say in child care decisions.

Sole custody:

The child lives with only one parent and only the parent has a say in all decisions concerning the child.

Unmarried couples
Single moms used to account for the greatest portion of unmarried parents, but their percentage decreased, replaced by cohabitant parents. According to the Pew Research Center, 35% of unmarried parents are living with a partner. There’s no divorce if an unmarried couple splits up, so there are no issues concerning the division of assets and such, but there is still the welfare of the child to be addressed. Again, couples can come to an agreement. Yet, if they’re not able to, it’s most likely that a court will grant sole physical custody to the mother if deemed fit. Unmarried fathers can fight for custody and present reasons why they are more eligible to care for their children.

Can the child choose who to stay with?
The answer to that isn’t as clear-cut as the question. A child may want to live with the mother, but the mother may not have the means or the constitution to bring up her child as well as the father, and visa-versa. A judge may take the child’s preference in regard, or disregard it if there is something to indicate pressure being put on a child to show a preference.

Non-parental custody
Non-parental custody refers to a family that is not the direct parent of the child. They can be, the grandparents, from either side or an aunt or uncle of a child. If the parents are deceased, grandparents have the right to petition the court to seek full custody of their grandchild. They also have the right to seek custody under other circumstances, such as if the parents are deemed unfit, or if the child has lived with their grandparents for a year or more. Because divorces can often get very messy, there are laws that protect grandparent visitation.

Child custody is usually a highly emotionally-charged case. Utilizing a lawyer is a good option when the split is hostile. You need someone to guide you during the process and work in your best interest and that of your child. Life-changing decisions in custody trials need a professional to help you through the stress of such cases and their legalities.

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Summary
Title
Why Good Legal Counsel is Important When Dealing with Child Custody Cases
Description
It’s believed that half of all marriages in the USA end in divorce. That may have been true at one point in time, but the picture is not as grim as that.

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