Child Custody and Child Support
Divorce forces parents to make difficult decisions regarding the care of their children. In addition to dissolving your marriage, divorcing couples must determine what days the child will be with each parent, decision making, division of holidays, summers, school breaks, health and life insurance, and support issues.
Which parent wins custody should not be the goal where children are involved. Only the child should win. Your child wins if both parents respect and treat each other with civility at all times in matters dealing with exchanging the child, future conflicts, and even financial responsibilities. This is truly an area of the law where I advise my clients to treat their spouse as they wish to be treated. Your child will benefit.
When preparing for a custody trial as part of a divorce or action to change custody following a divorce decree, you need an attorney who is familiar with the individual practices of the courts, knowledgeable of the law, and easily accessible to answer questions throughout the stressful weeks leading up to litigation. While there are standard parenting times that some courts employ, there is wide latitude in tailoring a parenting schedule that suits your child’s age, extracurricular activities, and lifestyle. Parents work schedules, proximity to each other’s residences, and other persons who may be living in the new home of a parent are also examined.
Some factors the courts consider in determining a child’s primary residential custodian are:
- The age and day-to-day needs of the child
- Who has acted as the child’s primary caretaker in the past
- Lifestyle habits of either parent that would make that parent unsuitable
- Whether a parent is likely to foster a good relationship between the child and the other parent
- What is in the child’s best interests
At your initial free consultation, I am happy to discuss the details of your case in relation to the factors used by the courts to render decisions. I present you with sample parenting plan forms as you begin to develop a proposal you consider to be in your child’s best interests. I go through mediation and settlement negotiation. If necessary, I go through trial preparation and the steps of your case with you. I advise you on proof issues, likely outcomes, and any other concerns you may have.