Child custody cases can be an emotional and traumatic event for both parents and children. This part of any divorce proceeding can quickly turn into an increasingly tense competition between parents as to who be the better choice for the role of primary caretaker. A child custody attorney advises divorcing parents to remember that it is the mental and physical well-being of their children that is at stake. In order to obtain custody, it must be shown to the court why it is better for one parent versus the other to be the primary caregiver after the divorce is final.
Child Custody – Areas Considered
An acceptable custody situation for any child involves as much what happens outside the home as what happens inside. Parents seeking custody will be evaluated on much more than just being able to pay the mortgage and put food on the table.
Primary Caretaker Role – A parent who encourages and participates in after-school and other types of activities in which their child is involved appears better in the eyes of the court as a custodial parent. This is in direct opposition to a parent who simply drops children at activities and in any way limits their participation in activities or appears distracted or disinterested when with the children. It is the advice of a child custody attorney to clients that the court also considers extended family, faith, morals, and if the parent has been an equal partner in the child rearing process. The most important thing to know is that this must be established behaviors – not new ones recently begun to gain favor with the court.
Good Influence – Parents with a history of alcohol or drug abuse, mental problems, legal issues, arrests, or any type of negative behavior will not be viewed favorably; however, depending upon the outcome of any such issues, it could be less damaging. If a parent appears to the court to be addressing such issues in a positive manner – such as attending AA meetings or seeking the guidance of a counselor – it could have a more affirmative effect on the outcome. Parents must illustrate to the court that they are in control of their own lives and are capable of serving as a primary caretaker.
Respect – Mutual respect for the other parent and a willingness to co-parent children regardless of who has primary custody is very important. This is better for the overall well-being of the child than dwelling on the flaws of the other parent or trying to negatively influence the children, any child custody attorney, or the court.
Child Custody – Preparation
Whether proceedings involve mediation or an actual court hearing involving a child custody attorney, parents must take the necessary time to properly prepare for the custody case. Such preparation could involve the discovery process, which means providing and receiving all requested information to and from legal counsel for both parties. It also means presenting evidence to support any complaints, since a verbal accusation cannot be verified.
If it is important enough, it may be necessary to hire an investigator to obtain such evidence. The other parent may be doing this as well, so it is imperative to be forthright and honest. Keep a record of all conversations between both parents on issues involving the children. A child custody attorney highly recommends having a third party present to substantiate topics that were discussed.
Child Custody – Value of an Experienced Attorney
Attorneys understand the legal system and have learned how to work within the system in that area. When a the services of an attorney are retained, it is important for a parent to trust that attorney’s opinion and advice. Custody cases are extremely difficult and usually involve compromise on both sides. An experienced child custody attorney understands this and knows how to deal with the issues of each individual case.
Custody of children is always an important matter – finding the right child custody attorney is a crucial first step in the proper preparation of a custody case in order to succeed. When facing this type of legal battle, look for a lawyer who has extensive experience in this field and is prepared to handle each client’s concerns. This is indeed an important first step to take when seeking child custody as part of a divorce, one that will affect involved children for a long time.
Reynaldo G. Garza, III
680 E. St Charles, Suite 600
Brownsville TX 78520