Disputes regarding child custody can be contentious and grueling, even under the best of circumstances.
Navigating the complex legal process with your child's future on the line can be stressful, frightening, and potentially riddled with hidden legal pitfalls. Having an experienced child custody attorney on your side can make a big difference in terms of both the outcome, and the toll taken by a protracted child custody case.
Why? Here are five things a child custody lawyer can do that you probably can't:
Negotiate with other side without getting too emotional. One of the inherent difficulties in child custody cases is the opposing side is often a former spouse, family member, or other person with whom you may have a complicated personal relationship and past. A child custody lawyer will able to bring a level-headed, unbiased voice to negotiations, advocating for your cause without the emotional baggage.
Manage deadlines and paperwork. If your child custody dispute ends up in family court, meeting deadlines and managing paperwork are of paramount importance. Working with an experienced child custody attorney will help your ensure that all required documents are filed timely and correctly.
Speak for you in court. You probably don't know all the laws about child custody that may affect your case, but a good lawyer will. Also, as mentioned above, child custody is an emotional issue, and as such it may be difficult to remain composed in court. This increases the odds that you will potentially say something you regret, or omit an important fact or legal argument before the judge or mediator. A lawyer will be able to advocate for you and know how best to present your side of the dispute in court.
Modify a child custody agreement. Child custody cases are often resolved by parenting agreements in which both sides agree to terms of custody which are then made binding by the court. But what happens if this agreement needs to be altered for any number of reasons? A child custody lawyer will be able to modify this agreement to prevent violation of your custody order from becoming an issue.
Handle complex legal issues such as international or interstate custody. Custody disputes can become more complicated if they involve parents who live in different states or countries. A child custody lawyer will know the legal issues unique to these multi-jurisdictional custody disputes.