Top Questions to Ask a Lawyer About Child Custody
Divorce can be complicated and can affect your emotional and mental health. But one of the things that can further elevate your tensions and worries during your divorce case is child custody. Like divorce, child custody is also complicated and may require you to take the help of a lawyer.
Researching child custody cases and asking your lawyer questions can help you prepare for your case. But more than hiring a lawyer for your custody case is required. You should equally be involved in the case and do whatever you can to cooperate with the lawyer and help your case. In addition, you must clarify what happens during a child custody hearing and be prepared for various scenarios.
Below are a few questions, according to a Scottsdale child custody lawyer, that you can ask about child custody:
Can the Case be Settled Out of Court?
Having spent a long time in court to figure out your divorce conditions, you may not want to go back again for a custody battle. When speaking to the child custody lawyer about your case, check if the case can be settled out of court. If your ex-spouse or partner and you agree on how to proceed with the custody, you may be able to settle the case and may not have to take it to court.
What is Joint vs. Sole Custody?
It would be best if you spoke to your lawyer about joint vs. sole custody. Typically, parents will have equal rights and duties in joint custody. Both parents will have an opinion on how the children are brought up. However, this doesn't mean both parents may spend the same time with the children. For instance, one parent may get to stay with the child only during summer and see them on holidays or weekends. The joint custody arrangement usually depends on the child's best interest and what both parents can do for the child.
On the other hand, just one parent will have physical and legal custody of the child in sole custody. This doesn't mean the child will be removed entirely from the other parent. The other parent may get unsupervised or supervised visits with the child. Sole custody is usually awarded when one of the parents is considered unfit because of substance abuse, child abuse, or neglect.
What Will the Court Consider?
The judge will have your child's best interest and consider several factors when ruling in a child custody case. You must know what they could be. Common factors that the judge may consider for a child custody ruling include:
- Your child's relationship with you and the other parent
- You and your ex-spouse's health
- The child's increasing developmental needs
- The child's emotional needs
- Whether you or your ex-spouse provide your child with a stable environment.
- Whether there are signs of abuse
- Your or your ex-spouse's ability to care for your child
The judge will make a ruling only after considering these factors. If you realize that your home may not accommodate your child, you may have to make it suitable before the case begins to increase your chances at custody.
Will Your Child Have a Say in the Custody Arrangements?
Ask your lawyer whether the court will consider your child's opinions during your custody case. You must discuss your situation with your lawyer if you feel your ex-spouse or partner will manipulate your child into deciding in their favor. Typically, a minor cannot decide 100% who they want to stay with.
However, the judge may consider their opinion once they reach a certain age. In some states, children who are older than 12 years can give their opinions when deciding on custody.
How Can I Be Helpful?
Many assume they only need to appear in court to get the desired custody arrangement. However, this is not true. Custody arrangement cases can get complicated. There are many things a judge may consider to decide what is best for the child. Speak to your lawyer and find out how best you can be of help. Ask them if there is anything specific you need to do.
Usually, if you want any custody, you must show that you are involved in your child's life. You may also have to present certain documents in court. Ask the lawyer about these documents and keep them ready for your case.
Can I Refuse My Ex-Spouse Visitation If They Don't Pay Child Support?
Visitation and child support obligations are two completely different things. Typically, courts encourage meaningful relationships between the child and the parents unless the circumstances don't allow it. They feel it is in the best interest of the child. Hence, any parent who has not paid the required child support cannot be denied visitation.
As a result, if you deny visitation to your ex-spouse because they have not paid child support, they can request the court to change the child support agreement in their favor. Though the court cannot refuse visitation, it can hold your ex-spouse responsible in other ways, like withholding their income, denying passport renewal or insurance, or not issuing or denying their driving license.
Can the Custody Agreement be Changed?
You can negotiate parts of your custody arrangement every two to three years. You can change the court order using an agreement if you and your ex-spouse agree to the changes. However, if your ex-spouse disagrees with the changes, you must file a petition in the court requesting a modification of the current custody agreement. In addition, you will have to prove that there has been a substantial change in your circumstance since the original order was passed.
Asking your lawyer the above questions will help you prepare for child custody proceedings. You will not face any unpleasant surprises during the case if you are prepared. If you visit here https://familylawattorneymesaaz.net/scottsdale/child-custody-lawyers-in-scottsdale-az/, you will know we understand that your child's custody is one of the most important things for you. We will legally guide you throughout your child custody case and do whatever we can to get you the best possible outcome.
Name, Address, and Phone
Genesis Family Law and Divorce Lawyers in Scottsdale, AZ,
7702 East Doubletree Ranch Road #336 Scottsdale AZ 85258,
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