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Whether you're just getting divorced or still hashing out custody issues with an old ex, you're probably wondering if you need the help of an attorney. Beyond having expertise in the field generally and familiarity with the court or judges involved specifically, an experienced child custody lawyer can act as a reasoned buffer between you and your ex (and possibly his or her attorney).

But how do you get a sense of the custody procedures and process and figure out which custody lawyer is right for you? Here are five questions to ask a potential child custody attorney, before you hire them.

Married couples frequently hold bank accounts jointly. When a couple divorces, the marital property and assets, including joint bank accounts, must be divided. But do you have to maintain that joint account during the divorce process?

Many divorcing individuals are often confused about the rules for joint bank accounts once the divorce process gets started. Below, you can find some guidance, but be careful, as the laws governing divorce vary from state to state, so it'll always be best to check with a local attorney before taking action.

When making child custody determinations, courts and child service agencies will make decisions in the child's best interests, and those interests can be examined through a variety of factors, from safety and stability to continuity of family, friend, and school relationships. Absent clear evidence of abuse or absenteeism, rarely is one circumstance solely determinative of custody.

But one Oregon couple is claiming that a single factor, their IQ, has been used to deny them custody of their two young children, even causing Department of Human Services to step in and take the couple's second child before he could even leave the hospital.

If a parent ends up in a situation where they cannot properly care for their children, the children may be placed in foster care. But those situations may not always be permanent. While there are instances where parental rights have been terminated, those rights can be reinstated under the right circumstances.

If your child has been placed with foster parents or a foster family, you might desperately want to get them back, or at least out of foster care. Here are a couple paths you can take to get your children out of foster care.

Domestic violence victims often have trouble leaving abusive relationships, despite the threat and reality of physical or emotional harm. Whether due to financial, psychological, or even physical factors, many victims don't feel like they have the option to get away or get help.

But there are resources out there for those in need. From the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to the Hotline, victims can get help in exiting a physically or emotionally violent relationship. And here are some legal resources for escaping domestic violence.

Love works in mysterious ways. And to some, so does the criminal justice system. Most crimes don't stop following those convicted once they're released from jail, and sex crimes especially can haunt perpetrators for years, decades, or their whole life. For those offenders, and the people who love them, sex offender registration can impact everything from residency to employment to marriage.

While inclusion on a sex offender registry is not a per se bar to marriage, restrictions stemming from the registration and other conditions of probation or parole can impact romantic relationships. Here's a look at what you need to know about getting married to a registered sex offender.

Being a stepparent is no simple task. Children will eventually rebel against their parents, and stepparents are easy targets. Unfortunately, stepparents are often caught in the middle, or left in the dark, when it comes to decisions involving their stepchildren.

Stepparents do have some rights, but those rights are typically limited to what the legal parents allow.

Below, you'll find five of the top legal questions stepparents ask about their rights.

In life, mistakes happen. Sometimes a little mistake can be corrected, other times, even a little mistake can be unforgivable. Luckily, there's divorce. But what happens when your divorce lawyer makes a mistake?

In a legal case, like in life, when an attorney makes a mistake, sometimes it matters, and sometimes it just doesn't matter, legally, financially, or in the grand scheme of things. However, when it's your divorce case, no matter how inconsequential the mistake may be in reality, any mistake is a big one. Sadly, that's just not true. Generally, for a mistake to actually matter, or rise to the level of legal malpractice, a client must suffer damages or other losses as a result.

A stepparent will generally not be required to pay child support for a spouse's children from a prior relationship. Courts usually will not even consider how much a stepparent earns. However, depending on the specific facts of a case, a stepparent's income can still make a significant difference in the amount of support that must be paid for a biological parent.

As a preliminary matter, because child support is usually based on a percentage of a parent's net income, after getting married, a parent's net income may increase due to tax benefits. Other factors, such as a decrease in the cost of living for a remarried spouse, can also be factored in by a court to reduce a child support award. In the end, while a stepparent usually cannot be forced to pay, or have their wages garnished, if their spouse is paying child support, they are paying too, even if they're not legally liable.

The question of whether your child can testify in a divorce proceeding depends on several factors. Among the most important variables a judge will consider when deciding whether to allow a child to testify is their age and maturity. Basically, judges must ensure that witnesses are competent to testify, much like when a defendant is ruled competent to stand trial.

If a child is found to be competent and able to testify, the next consideration a court may take into account is the purpose for calling the child as a witness. Courts are generally reluctant to put a child in the position of providing testimony in a divorce for the purposes of division of property, but will do so regularly to help decide custody matters (if the child is old and mature enough).