If you are currently working through divorce proceedings, you already know that this process can be stressful and time-consuming. Retaining services from an experienced family law attorney can provide you with added support when discussing visitation rights, custody arrangements and other elements of your parenting plan. Here are some of the most important facts you should consider when dealing with divorce and child custody proceedings.
Why Do You Need a Lawyer for Child Custody Proceedings?
Even in amicable divorces, disputes can arise over the specifics of visitation, the financial arrangements required to care for minor children and the division of custody rights and responsibilities. Your child custody attorney can help you to navigate these difficulties more efficiently and can provide a much-needed buffer between you and your former spouse. This can allow negotiations to proceed on a more even keel and can ensure the best possible outcome for you and your minor children.
What Can Your Family Law Attorney Do for You?
Your attorney can provide you with some valuable services related to custody negotiations, including some or all of the following:
- Identifying financial assets and liabilities to ensure an equitable division of marital property and a fair assessment of child support responsibilities
- Advocating for your positions and protecting your legal rights both in and out of the courtroom setting
- Arranging for mediation regarding issues that cannot easily be resolved between the two disputing parties
- Ensuring that the court receives all filings and required documentation in a timely manner
- Providing evidence regarding the best interests of the child for the court's perusal
By working with an experienced lawyer for child custody issues, you can avoid serious errors that could cost you financially and personally during your divorce proceedings.
Factors that Affect Child Custody
The courts consider many factors when determining primary custody and visitation rights for each parent. Some of the most important of these considerations include the following:
- The stability of the home environment provided by each parent
- Any past incidents of domestic violence or child abuse
- The preferences of the parents
- Recommendations by qualified professionals, including social workers and psychologists
- For older children, the expressed preference for one of the parents
Financial considerations may also play a role in the decision of the courts. By engaging the services of a qualified lawyer for child custody, you can often increase your chances of achieving the most positive outcome for you and your children.
Devising a Workable Parenting Plan
Your parenting plan will typically serve as a blueprint for the care of your children after your divorce is final. During custody litigation, your attorney will provide you with guidance on the most important elements of this document and will represent your interests throughout the process. Along with basic visitation rights and custody determinations, the parenting plan should also include the following information:
- Details on how information will be shared between parents
- A process by which decisions can be made regarding educational opportunities, religious observance, medical care and other important issues
- A contingency plan for relocations
- Decisions regarding holiday arrangements and vacations
- A strategy for making changes to the parenting plan when necessary
No plan can include all possibilities. By working with a qualified family attorney, you can create a parenting plan that offers a clear outline for you and your former spouse while providing the flexibility needed to achieve a positive outcome for you and your children.
Points to Remember About Child Custody Litigation
Reminding yourself of a few key points can help you navigate the divorce and custody determination process more easily and may help you to enjoy greater peace of mind during this difficult time. Listed are some of the most important factors to remember during your custody negotiations:
- Your child custody attorney may be able to provide you with expert witnesses who can offer testimony about the most beneficial environment for your kids.
- Every child is different. If your child has special needs, the court may look at work schedules to determine who has more free time to spend caring for his or her medical or psychological requirements.
- In most cases, the courts are less likely to consider the preferences of very young children in deciding custody and visitation rights.
- Working with a qualified attorney is usually the best way to ensure the best outcomes for you and your children during your divorce proceedings.
By entrusting these negotiations to a trained and qualified legal professional, you can often achieve your goals and protect your children during the process and after your divorce is final.
If you are looking for a family law attorney to help with child custody litigation in the Fresno, California area, contact the Law Office of Julia Ann Brungess. Call 559-226-4008 today!