Child Custody in the US
Children and Parenting

Child Custody in the US: Laws and Lawyers

As a parent, it is challenging to decide whether you are in need of a good, qualified child custody lawyers. A lot of things need to be considered to come to a conclusion. Cost is one of the vital factors that is required in order to be kept in mind. What you must remember is that the goal of child custody laws and child custody hearing is to provide what is best for the children by deciding the best custody arrangement for the children. A lot is at stake when decisions about children are to be made, and sometimes, it gets difficult to determine what is best for the child. This article takes you through some laws, issues, and factors that you should keep in mind before you make a legal route for child custody.

Child Custody Laws in the US

Child custody, guardianship, and conservatorship are three legal terms that are used to describe the legal relationship between children and their caretakers. Child custody is given to one of the biological parents of the child. In most cases, the custody of the child is determined by keeping the best interests of the child in mind. If the parents of the child are not married, it is necessary to prove paternity in the court. In some cases, if both the parents are not eligible for child custody, other measures are taken.

Guardianship is given to a third party if the fundamental right of both the parents is overcome or the third party has established a relationship with the child, similar to that of a parent. In a guardianship, the guardian can take complete care of the child and make decisions for the child’s life. In a conservatorship, the conservator is responsible for managing the property or the finances of the child. This is usually given when the child is too small, or the parents are too old. Both guardianship and conservatorship can be accompanied by custody as well.

Also Read: Questions to Consider Before Adopting a Child in Georgia

Some Important Points

There are a few important points you should keep in mind if you are looking to hire a child custody lawyer. These points are listed below.

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* No parent has the right to sole custody of the child without a court order. Both parents have equal rights in most cases.

* Best interest of the child is determined by factors like child’s age, emotional and physical health and development of the child, and evidence of domestic violence or abuse. The judge will make a decision that is considered to be in the best interest of the child.

* The preference of young children are not considered vital, but more weight is given to the preferences of the teenagers.

* If a parent gets the legal custody of the child, he or she can make decisions regarding education, healthcare and medical treatment, discipline, and religion of the child. Physical custody allows the parent to live with the child. In some cases, physical custody is given to one parent, but the right to make decisions is given to the other. In that case, the other parent cannot make decisions on behalf of the child.

* In case of sole custody, the parent has physical and legal custody of the child. The custodial right of the parent is subjected to the visitation rights of the other parent. However, in the case of joint custody, parents physical and legal custody equally and divide the right to decisions as well. This condition is much more complicated as it required a lot of cooperation between the two parents.

* Home environment plays an important role in deciding the child custody. Factors like the personal life of the parent, is it physically or mentally harmful to the child, etc. influence the child’s custody judgment.

* The parent who has the sole custody of the child cannot move to another state with the child as it interferes with the rights of the non-custodial parent. Doing so can jeopardize the parent’s custody rights.

* If the parent having the custody of the child dies, the non-custodial parent can apply for a modification of custody in the court. The court always prefers custody to the parent rather than to a non-parent.

* Grandparents can also get custody of a child, but the court gives preference to parents over grandparents.

* You have to hire a good child custody lawyer if the case is complicated. You can look for child custody lawyers in Oklahoma City who have a lot of experience and expertise in handling such cases.

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What to Consider While Hiring a Child Custody Attorney?

If you have made a decision to hire a child custody lawyer, you need to look upon three factors to come to a final decision. These factors are discussed below.

  1. Financial Condition

Before hiring a lawyer for child custody issues, you should consider the availability of financial resources. Hiring a child custody lawyer can be an expensive process depending on factors like the state and the time taken to solve the case. Before hiring a child custody lawyer, it is advised to get an estimated cost idea upfront. If you are not able to afford a private child custody lawyer, you can go for other options like low-cost representation by a family court or gree legal aid.

  1. The Complexity of the Case

Parents should hire child custody lawyers only if they are facing complex issues with the child’s custody. In general, interstate child custody cases are more complex.You should hire a child custody lawyer if you are feeling unsure about representing yourself. If you are representing yourself, you should be well prepared and have all the necessary knowledge about child custody laws in the country and your city.

  1. The Reputation of the Lawyer

Considering the reputation of the child custody lawyer is vital. You should hire a lawyer who has the expertise and ample experiences in handling similar cases. Child custody cases are very important and you cannot afford to loose them. So, don’t be shy of asking for references. You should investigate the attorney’s experience, reputation, and expertise. If you are eligible for free aid or low-cost representation, make sure to the prospective custody lawyer about the strategy the he will be using to win the case.

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