Child Custody, Parentage, and Visitation Agreements
There are major decisions involved when making child custody and visitation arrangements and having the guidance of a competent family law attorney will help guide you along the way.
When you’re going through a child custody case, it is important to focus on the facts including the relationship between each parent and each child, the child’s health, safety, education, and general development. Ultimately, managing the best interests of the children and creating an effective, manageable arrangement in which both the parents and children will succeed are critically important.
Issues that are considered during child visitation and custody arrangements involve more than just access, and include:
- Child custody and access categories, including sole custody, shared custody and legal custody.
- Visitation schedules including holidays.
- Child custody and arrangements during temporary divorce proceedings.
- Financial child support obligations for both parties.
- Personal and emotional considerations of the child or children.
- Living arrangements and travel deliberations.
- Visitation rights and arrangements for the extended family.
- Non-parent custody or guardianship.
If your child custody arrangement is due to a divorce, the arrangement is finalized during finalization of your divorce. The judge will make sure that both you and your ex receive appropriate access to the child or children. The finalization will also include terms of support and financial considerations. These terms are usually kept in place until your child or children turn 18.
If you are happy with your current custody arrangement, we will consider if the current status quo has been working and how you are going to show the court that things should stay the same.
If you are unhappy with the current custody arrangement, we will consider why the current custody and visitation system is not in the best interests of the child.
It is important to note that child custody laws do not permit a family law judge to consider a parent’s absence from the family residence due to relocation as long as this absence is of short duration. This comes into play most often when one parent moves out of the house due to the divorce, and the parent staying in the home attempts to monopolize control over custody and visitation. As long as the ousted parent can show that they are making reasonable efforts to maintain contact with the child and have not abandoned the child, the court will be sympathetic to the situation. In short, this means that if one parent moves out but still makes a reasonable effort to continue to be a presence in that child’s life, their absence will not be held against them by the courts.
As your children grow older, they may develop a preference as to where they would prefer to live. This has become more relevant in the eyes of the court. Additional issues such as violence, abuse, criminal convictions, and co-parenting should be discussed with the Hills Law Group.
Act quickly. Your relationship with your children cannot wait.