What Are Child Custody Basics?
A lot of parents out there don’t know where to start to get custody of their child. If you’ve done this before or have never been in a court room in your life, starting the process can be somewhat scary. If you have a lot of questions, good. Having questions is a step in the right direction. This article will lay down some basic steps and essential factors in child custody matters that will help you get closer to your goal of getting the custody arrangement you want. A lot of parents who have a rocky relationship with their child’s mother or father want to go for full custody right off the bat. In all actuality, it is in the best interests of your child to really think about what kind of custody arrangement will benefit them emotionally and physically. A child needs both their parents. Every case is different obviously and sometimes it just doesn’t work out but make sure you weigh everything before you make a decision. Whether you’re going for full custody, half time 50/50 custody or visitation on a regular basis, here are a few things to keep in mind and look out for:
- Married or Unmarried? If you are married to the other parent, whether you are a mother or father, it’s going to be easier to maintain a working relationship with your ex but the two of you will have to work out some kind of custody schedule that works for both of you. Things like signing the birth certificate, establishing paternity etc. come into play here; talk to a legal professional who can fill you in on this. If you are unmarried, as a father you have yourself a little more of an uphill fight. Timing is an important factor in establishing custody. Filing immediately after the child is born can be a smart move or you can watch them grow up and establish custody when they’re older and your relationship with them is established.
- What the judge looks at. Things like the condition of your home, financial stability, mental stability, the child’s preference etc. are all things that are incorporated into the judge’s decision of awarding custody to one parent or the other. If you’re home is too far away from their school, or is dirty or if you don’t have a steady income, ask a professional what you can do to make the right changes.
- A right your children. What is overlooked a lot of the time is the fact that if one of the two parents gets full custody of the child, leaving the other parent with no custody at all or visitation rights, many times that parent will have to work more to take care of the child. Thus the child will have to be placed with some kind of daycare while their mother or father is at work. You can bring this up in court and use this as a means to gain custody. If the child is going to be spending a lot of time with a nanny or babysitter, make the case that you have more rights to see the child than an unknown third party or grandparent and are the better solution for the problem.
If you’re in a place where you’re not quite sure what to do, rest assured you have a lot of options to explore. Lawyers can be expensive but it is possible to find an inexpensive one or one that works on a pro bono basis. It is also possible to get this resolved without the aid of a legal professional. Contact us if you feel that you want to explore this route.