The Importance of a Child Custody Attorney
A child custody matter can be one of the most emotionally devastating and challenging issues a divorced parent or couple faces. In most circumstances, children see their parents as equals, and any change that is imposed upon them by the process of divorce or separation can have a profound impact on them. This is why it’s important to seek the help of a knowledgeable child custody lawyer.
The best Child Custody Attorney will understand that the goal is to maintain a consistent environment for the child, while balancing both parties’ rights and obligations. The best lawyers are able to negotiate without emotion, while maintaining a level head and keeping the child’s best interests in mind.
A good attorney will be familiar with local family law, and have the ability to provide a detailed evaluation of the situation that can aid in the case’s outcome. They will be able to determine whether the child has been placed in a precarious position or if a particular parental figure is not a safe guardian for the child. They will also be able to establish the presence of any unsafe conditions that may necessitate changes in custody or visitation arrangements.
Generally speaking, judges try to maintain a child’s life with as little disruption as possible by awarding both parents legal and physical custody of the children in cases that are free from domestic violence or other aggravating factors. However, in situations where this is not possible, a judge will make a determination that best meets the child’s needs. Generally, this will be based on the primary caregiver (which is often the mother, especially in infants and toddlers), each parent’s ability to care for the child, each parent’s relationship with the child, each parents’ living situation and each parent’s history with other children or spouses.
In most situations where the parents cannot agree on a joint custody arrangement, the court will assign a “law Guardian” to represent the child. This person will interview the child, and can bring their opinion back to the court regarding what they feel is in his or her best interests. However, it should be noted that the Law Guardian is not a substitute for the child’s own opinion, and can only bring an objective view of the situation to the court’s attention.
Child custody and visitation terms can be changed as time goes on, but a modification requires the approval of the court. This can be done if the parties are on amicable terms and can reach an agreement, or it can be done if there has been a significant change in circumstances. This may be a change in work schedule, a move to a different state, or something else that is substantial enough to warrant a court order. A Sacramento Family Lawyer can provide the proper advice in these situations. They can also help you with the necessary paperwork that must be filed with the court to effectuate a modification in the case.