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Originally Posted On: https://www.hartley-lawoffice.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-child-custody
Child custody is the field of law that deals with the determination of how parents who are going through a divorce will share custody of any minor children. When you’re looking for a child custody lawyer, you’re looking for someone who can represent you in negotiations and court proceedings. This is an area of the law that many lawyers have chosen to specialize in.
What does a child custody attorney do?
Child custody disputes can be contentious because of the many legal pitfalls that may be involved here. This is why having a lawyer on your side can be beneficial. There are some things your lawyer will be able to do for you that you can’t do for yourself, including:
● They can negotiate types of child custody with your spouse’s attorney without becoming emotional. In doing so, they’ll be able to remain level-headed and unbiased as they advocate for you.
● They’ll be able to make sure that all of the case’s important documents are properly filed in a timely fashion.
● A good lawyer will know how the law affects your case and will be able to speak on your behalf so that you don’t say something that you may regret later. They’ll also make sure that the judge has all of the important facts.
Why you should hire a child custody attorney
While you could always represent yourself in a child custody case, you wouldn’t know all the pertinent child custody laws. This is one of the main reasons why you should consider hiring an attorney to represent you here. Some of the other reasons why you should do so include:
● Your ex-spouse has already retained legal counsel
● Your case has grown complicated because your spouse wants to try to convince the court that you’re an unfit parent or is trying to prevent you from seeing your children
● When you and your ex-spouse live in different states
● If you believe that your children are in danger
● If your ex-spouse is relocating, remarrying, or moving in with a significant other
● If the court is mandating that you get treatment or take parenting classes
When you should see a child custody attorney
Before you rush into hiring a child custody attorney, you’ll want to make sure that you have the finances available to do so. Some cases are so complex that they can’t be solved without an attorney’s help though. You’ll also want to make sure that you take the time to find the best child custody attorney you can afford. Remember, the case could be lengthy and you don’t want to run out of funds halfway through the case. You’re making a long-term commitment here and really need to think of it as such from the very beginning.
How much does a child custody attorney cost?
Filing a court case requires you to pay a filing fee. While the local county clerk’s office establishes this fee, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 to $400. From there, your attorney will charge you an hourly fee based on their experience, abilities, and reputation. How many hours your case will take and the fee you’ll be charged will depend on how novel or complex it is. You may also be charged court fees if your case goes to trial.
Checking on credentials
To become a child custody lawyer, you won’t only need a bachelor’s degree, but you’ll also need to attend law school. Besides having knowledge of child custody laws, you want an attorney who has experience in cases like yours. This means that you should find someone who specializes in the type of child custody you’re dealing with.
Also, make sure that the attorney you hire is one who has good communication skills. Not only do you want to feel comfortable when you talk to them, but you also want to make sure they’re skilled at communicating with judges. At the same time, a healthy dose of compassion is good for your lawyer to have here too.
What to expect when visiting a child custody attorney
Now that you’ve been able to take the time to determine whether you need a child custody attorney, you may have decided that hiring an attorney would be in your best interest and that your children. If this is the case, you may find yourself wondering what you should expect when you visit with them for the first time.
During the course of your initial consultation, you’ll be able to discuss the facts surrounding your case as well as what the legal process involves. This is also the time for you to ask any questions that you may have, so make sure that you write these down ahead of time and bring them with you. Think of this as the time to get all of the information you can before you initiate the legal process. This can be somewhat stressful, so make sure you have your questions available somewhere to jog your memory.
You should also bring any and all of your legal documents to your meeting. This includes things like court orders, marriage certificates, and birth certificates. Make sure you also have notes about any upcoming important dates like court dates. These documents are essential because they’ll help your attorney get a better idea of what your case entails and what is already happening with it.
Since most child custody cases are linked to child support cases, you don’t want to forget to bring these papers to your initial consultation with you as well. What many people overlook though are the bills that are associated with taking care of your child, including things like tuition for private school, daycare, or even summer camp.
Walking into this meeting well-prepared is in your best interest because then you won’t be wasting anyone’s time. You’ll be able to proceed with the court case right away and reach a solution you can live with.