No case is more emotionally difficult than a child custody dispute. Unlike other legal matters, the stakes aren’t money but the children you love. Because you try to be the best parent you can be, the very process may feel like an attack on your parental abilities. Let our experienced attorneys guide you through the child custody process and get you through this difficult time.
The key concern for a court when awarding custody and visitation rights is the best interests of the child. In making its decision, the court will consider the parents’ job status, their financial situation, and their relationship with their child, among other factors. In most cases, the court will grant primary custody to one parent and visitation rights to the other. Let us help you show the court what arrangement is best for your child.
Child custody and visitation decisions are initially made during divorce proceedings. Generally, there will be separate hearings on child custody issues before the divorce is finalized. Because of the difficulty of modifying a child custody or visitation order, these proceedings are crucial.
For that reason, you may not wish to use a general family law attorney to handle your entire divorce. Instead, you could allow a firm experienced with property division to handle those aspects of your divorce and allow our firm to fight for your child’s best interests.
Child custody and visitation arrangements are court orders and therefore must be followed. It’s expected that parents might be occasionally late due to being stuck in traffic or losing track of time and that they might sometimes agree to temporarily depart from the court ordered arrangement, but constant or series breaches of the court order is a serious matter that may even be considered criminal contempt.
In addition to criminal penalties, a court may also impose civil penalties in an effort to ensure the parents comply with the order or it may modify the order if it deems it necessary. If you haven’t been able to convince the other parent to comply with the court’s order, contact our firm to get help enforcing it.
Child custody and visitation orders are generally meant to be final. That means a court won’t change them simply because a parent was unhappy with the initial order or later decides they aren’t happy with it. Modification of a child custody or visitation order requires a change in conditions surrounding the child whereby his or her welfare would be enhanced by the modification. Orders may also be reviewed every two years without showing a material change in condition.
Common reasons for modifications include parents changing jobs, remarrying, or wanting to relocate. If you believe that the current child custody or visitation order is no longer in your child’s best interests or you oppose the other parent’s proposed modifications to an order, contact our firm for assistance.