Do you plan on getting separated from your partner and want to keep your kid at all costs? Here are 10 serious signs you need a child custody lawyer.
Child custody matters can get messy. You both have a vested interest in raising your child, and may also still be healing from the loss of the romantic relationship.
However, you need to handle the legal aspect of this situation by hiring a child custody lawyer that can protect your interests.
It’s vital that you do what is in your child’s best interests, and that means getting your fair shake as a parent. Consider the points below so you know when hiring a lawyer is necessary.
1. Hire a Child Custody Lawyer If You Live in Different Places
Whether you split due to a divorce or just the end of a long-term relationship, you’ll need to put a custody arrangement in writing. This becomes more difficult when you live in different places.
Simply put, you’ll absolutely need to bring in a child custody lawyer if you’re living in different areas. When you’re living in two different cities or regions, the judge will need to consider the distance and where it makes the most sense for the child to live. In Florida, the traditional concept of child custody is dead and they instead practice “shared parental responsibilities”.
If you’re in two different states, you will potentially be dealing with two entirely different family court systems. This means you’ll need to learn where and how to file, and what sorts of circumstances the situation is subject to.
Having a lawyer lets you make sense of these issues for you.
2. If the Other Parent Has Hired a Lawyer
It’s definitely important to hire an attorney if the other parent has already retained an attorney. If that’s the case, you’re already behind the legal 8-ball and will need to catch up. and ensure legal requirements are not missed.
When you hire an attorney, you can be at the cause and not the effect of the situation. Without a lawyer, you’ll likely be at the whim of whatever filing the other parent and their attorney submit.
3. Your Ex Is Trying to Keep the Kids from You
Sometimes, the other parent is flat-out being aggressive in trying to deny you your rights to your kids. This is of course not the mandate behind share parenting.
As long as you’re not abusive or unfit, you have every right to get a child custody arrangement that lets you see your child, and share in the time caring for your child and the responsibility.
If your ex is playing games, creating roadblocks, or breaking the law to keep you from your child, you’ll definitely want to get in touch with an attorney immediately. Your lawyer can intervene and expedite the process of getting in front of a judge and putting a halt to these sorts of actions.
Having a lawyer encourage and facilitate order also puts a third-party between you and the situation, which can help deescalate your involvement. That’s important since these situations are emotionally charged and can open up an entirely different can of worms. Sometimes your strong and emotional attachment can cause definite difficulty for yourself.
4. You Believe Your Child Is in Danger or Being Mistreated
When you believe that your child is in danger, you’ll need to report mistreatment or get in touch with Child Protective Services.
Having a lawyer get involved will not just protect your rights as a parent, but it’ll also get your child out of a potentially abusive or dangerous situation. Your attorney also has enough of a handle on the law to put together evidence that can be useful in pursuing criminal charges as well.
5. A Court Order Has Been Issued
When a judge issues a court order, you’ll definitely need to get the help of an attorney.
A court order dictates concrete custody for shared parenting and visitation schedule. Each state has its own laws in this regard, so you need to figure out how you must respond based on where you live.
In many situations, you’ll be hiring a lawyer so that you can address the order that was filed, to either enforce or modify the order. Having an attorney lets you explain your case in detail, and assert your parental rights.
It’s important to assert your position at a final hearing so your shared parenting is protected.
6. You’ve Been Forced to Take Anger Management or Other Classes
Family court orders often come with a series of stipulations. One situation that people run into is having to take anger management classes, share parenting or other counseling.
There’s nothing at all wrong with anger management, but if you feel like you’ve been wrongfully ordered by the court, it can put your custody rights at risk.
This sometimes happens when a parent tries to sway the judge against the other and engage in sharing. They may fabricate or exaggerate certain stories to paint the other as someone unable to control their anger so that the judge limits access to the child.
Since these types of tactics are nefarious and damaging, you’ll absolutely want the help of a child custody attorney, who can ensure the share parenting laws are being followed.
7. There Have Been Some Significant Complications to the Case
Don’t wait until you’re in over your head to call a lawyer. There are situations where your case starts in a straightforward manner but then becomes more complicated.
For instance, you may begin filing for joint custody or share parental responsibilities, but then your ex begins to get evasive or less cooperative. Or maybe they started a relationship with someone that you don’t feel comfortable having around your kids, and you gro concerned for their safety.
Since these matters get so complicated, you’ll definitely need the help of a lawyer that can jump to your defense.
8. The Case Has Several Complex Matters
As time goes on, the case can become more complex due to life changes. You or your former spouse could have remarried or even had another child by the time family court hearings conclude.
You may have also significantly increased or decreased your income, moved to another area, or have differences of opinion on where to send your child to school. In fact, if the two of you are having significant differences of opinion on how to raise the children, these matters will need to be hashed out in court as well.
Your attorney can help you in court, in addition to opening channels to negotiate an agreement with the other parent and their attorney. Many child custody lawyers are also skilled mediators, which can come in handy with these cases, and ensuring the shared parenting is working for your unique family.
9. Your Child Custody Case Is Costly
If your child custody case is costing you a bit of money, it’s best to bring an attorney on board to make sure your money is being spent productively, which in Florida is known as share parental responsibility, sole parental responsibility or ultimate decision making responsibility.
When your case involves any sort of disputes over getting sole custody, partial custody, or joint custody, you’ll need an attorney that can sort out the details. A child custody case that continuously goes back and forth with multiple hearings might cost you thousands and thousands of dollars, so make sure that you are spending this money in a way that works out for you.
With access to an attorney, you’ll optimize this spending, rather than spending money on trial and error while DIYing your case.
10. You Received a Summons for a Hearing
Once you’re hit with a summons, you’ll need to craft a proper response. By working with an attorney, you’ll be able to respond to the summons in a way that helps your case, and ensures the court will hear your side of the case.
When you fail to respond to the summons in a timely manner, or not at all, your ex has the right to move forward in the case and receive a court judgment without your participation.
Having an attorney that you can strategize with lets you know when to file for continuances to buy more time, how to prepare for any hearing that you have to fulfill, and argue your case to the fullest.
Know What to Look for in an Attorney
Finally, be sure that you choose wisely when looking for a child custody lawyer, no matter where your case may be.
Find someone that fits your sensibilities, and who responds promptly whenever you have a question. Be sure that you have access to an attorney that can prioritize your case, and who you trust to handle it from start to finish.
You’re always better off finding a great attorney by getting references and taking your time to make the wisest decision.
Hire a Child Custody Lawyer for Your Case
When you need the help of a child custody lawyer, it’s important that you do some research. These are the primary situations in which you should definitely call in a custody attorney.
At the Law Office of Erin Morse, you’ll get attentive care for any child custody situation. We can help whether you’re creating a court order, trying to negotiate custody arrangements, or need help modifying a judge’s decision.
We’d be happy to offer you a consultation for your case.
If you need help with a child custody case, contact us for more information.