Child Custody

 

We aggressively litigate to ensure the best custodial arrangements for you and your children. You are the client but we always litigate with the best interests of your children in mind. We are passionate about helping you and your children to remain happy, safe and with one another.

 

Our attorney-client relationship is unique in that you will be able to speak to an attorney at any time, about any concern or with any questions you may have, as often as you like during the litigation process, including after hours and/or on Holidays or during weekends. We are accessible and work hard to make sure that you are not alone during what can be a difficult time.

 

Child custody information and tips

 

Child Custody Orders

When determining what kind of custody arrangement is best for you and your children, it is important to understand the two types of child custody that exist: Legal and Physical custody.

 

Legal custody refers to the rights and obligation of the parent to be involved in the decision making process regarding your children’s lives and to remain informed about important areas in their lives. Legal custody gives the parent the power to have a voice in decisions such as what school your child will attend, what doctor or dentist will be treating your child, the type of medical treatment your child receives religious instruction and participation and commencement, participation in psychiatric or psychological treatment and many other, important issues involving your child. Sole legal custody means one parent has the power to make these decisions. Joint legal custody means the parents share in the responsibility to make such important decisions. A sample joint legal custodial order can be found here (PDF file).

 

Physical custody refers to periods in which your child is physically with you and under your control, via court order. Sole physical custody means that one parent has physical custody and control of the child. The other parent may have visitation with the child only, or, under certain extreme circumstances, may have supervised visitation, during which he or she may visit with the child solely while observed by a professional or non-professional monitor, or he or she may have no visitation at all. Joint physical custody means that both parents have periods of physical custody of the child. Sometimes parents have an equal, or almost equal custodial timeshare arrangement but other times, one parent is deemed the "primary" custodial parent and the other parent is the "secondary" custodial parent, the primary custodial parent having more time with the child. A sample joint physical custody arrangement can be found here(PDF file).

 

Litigation Tips

 

Child custody litigation can sometimes be a difficult experience, especially when one or both parents behaves unreasonably or has unrealistic expectations about what custodial orders should be issued. The following are some useful tips to help you and your children get through the process intact and may help strengthen your ability to obtain custodial orders that are in the best interest of you and your children.

 

  • Never speak negatively to your child about the other parent. Regardless of how the other parent is behaving or what he or she may be saying, it hurts one’s children and can negatively affect the outcome of one’s case when a party speaks in a negative manner about the other parent, either to, or in the presence of their child.
  • Keep detailed records It is important, especially in cases in which the parties are unable to come to an agreement about custody, or in which the other parent is behaving in a manner that may be detrimental to your children, or in which false allegations against you may arise, that you document what is happening in your life and the lives of your children. In cases of high conflict litigation, keep a journal, including dates and times, of all communications you have with the other parent and all instances that may disturb you regarding your children and/or their care and treatment by the other parent. If you are the subject of false allegations, maintaining a journal of everything you do that disproves the allegations of the other parent and keeping records such as receipts, report cards and/or medical records for your children, may prove very important.
  • Do not sign anything until your attorney reviews it and speak up! Make sure you are advised of your rights. If you do not have an attorney, demand a hearing before signing anything. Speak up during any and all hearings and let the judge know if you do not understand what the judge is saying to you, what a document means or what is happening during a proceeding. If you feel, at the end of a hearing, that you have not had a chance to be heard or that you do not understand what happened or is happening, politely address the Court and let the judge know that you have information you feel is important or are having trouble understanding what is going on. Legal documents and language can be very confusing. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into something you are not certain about. Do not agree to anything you do not completely understand. Take the opportunity during hearings to make sure the Court is receiving all important information from you. This is your chance. Take it.

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