Worldwide 17 percent of children from infancy to the age of 14 live in single-parent homes. This number continues to rise and as families look at custody and custody agreements you need to know whether or not you should hire a child custody lawyer.
The cost of an attorney can quickly add up. Knowing whether or not you need a lawyer can help you save on costs. Keep reading for signs that you may need a child custody lawyer and consider if any of these apply to you.
The Basics of Child Custody
If you are involved in dealings with custody there are a few basic things you should know. The most important thing to know is there are ways that custody can be decided on without involving lawyers.
Two of these methods include:
- Informal negotiation- parents who are amicable can decide between themselves on the custody situation
- Mediation- in this instance parents may need a little extra help and can use an impartial mediator to help work out custody arrangements
Understanding Different Types of Custody
When you do get to the point where custody is being decided on it is important to know what type of custody you are seeking. There are various custody agreements that can be decided on including:
- Sole Custody allows one parent to make decisions regarding the child
- Joint Custody allows both parents to make decisions and share physical custody
- Split Custody allows both parents to share time equally or one parent to have the children a substantial amount of time
- Third Person Custody gives custody to someone else petitioning for custody such as a grandparent
Deciding Factors in Custody
If you are unable to come to an agreement on custody and the case goes in front of a judge the judge will consider different factors. Some of these factors include:
- Mental, emotional, and physical health of the parents
- Communities children may already have connections to
- History of child abuse
- The financial status of parents and ability to provide
- The relationships each parent has with the child
Custody decisions can bring a lot of stress to families. If you do find yourself in the position that you need a child custody lawyer agencies like Law Firms Ipswich offer free phone consultations.
Benefits to Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer
A child custody lawyer can help you by:
- Navigating difficult situations
- Protecting your interests
- Guiding you through the court system
- Acting as an advocate for you and your children
Sign One You Need a Child Custody Lawyer: Children Are in Danger
Abuse and the resulting trauma impact children for life. If you believe your child is being abused a child custody lawyer can help.
If you have young children or children with special needs that cannot speak up and tell you they are being abused there are signs you can be on the lookout for.
Possible signs of abuse:
- Unexplained injuries or bruises
- Depression, anxiety, or loss of normal self-confidence
- Self-harm or attempts at suicide
- Frequently missing school
- Poor school performance
- Loss of developmental skills previously gained
- Injuries that do not match the explanation
Different parental behaviors can also tip you off to abuse including:
- Harsh physical discipline
- Isolates the child by limiting contact with others
- Blames children for problems
- Frequently berates or belittles the child
- Shows no concern for children
- Offers no explanations for child’s injuries or explanations that do not make sense
- Cannot recognize physical or emotional distress in the child
Remember that abuse encompasses many things. Abuse can include:
- Physical Abuse
- Emotional Abuse
- Medical Neglect
- Sexual Abuse
If you believe that your children are in immediate danger call 911 and your local child protective agencies!
Sign Two You Need a Child Custody Lawyer: History of Substance Abuse
Everyone has a past. However, if you have a history of substance abuse custody battles can become difficult if this is used against you.
A child custody lawyer can assist you in showing the court that you have taken the appropriate steps to stay clean and sober.
Sign Three You Need a Child Custody Lawyer: Denied Visitation
If you are being denied visitation it may become necessary to hire a child custody lawyer. Unless visitation rights have been denied by the court then as a parent you have basic rights.
If you and your ex cannot come to an agreement it may be necessary to seek further assistance.
Sign Four You Need a Child Custody Lawyer: Complex Custody Issues
There are various factors that can make a child custody case complex including:
- Your child has a disability
- Your case crosses jurisdiction because you and your ex live in different states or countries
- Domestic Violence and neglect
- One parent is looking to move or relocate
- Temporary custody orders and violations of custody orders
- Disputes or disagreements that cannot be resolved
Sign Five You Need a Child Custody Lawyer: Court Required Classes
At times a judge may order you to take parenting classes, anger management, or attend drug and alcohol treatment. This is a clear indicator that you may be at a disadvantage. Unless it is common for these classes to be ordered where you live.
Hiring a child custody lawyer in these situations does not mean you will not need to take the classes. However, your attorney will be able to advocate for you in these situations by showing your willingness to improve and comply with orders.
Do You Need a Child Custody Lawyer?
With this information in mind, it is now up to you to decide. Do you need a child custody lawyer?
Was this article helpful? Visit the Lifestyle section for more great ideas on parenting.