Family Court Terms, How Are They Important?

What’s The Difference?

Whether this is your first experience going through court or you’re a veteran of the court system, knowing the difference between legal terms can mean the difference between getting your kids half time or just getting to see them on Wednesdays. In any legal issue, especially family law, the best thing you can do for yourself is to know as much as possible about your surroundings. Think about it like surviving in the wild; if you don’t know how to make a fire, your odds of surviving decrease. Likewise if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might not get the custody or visitation schedule you want or could even inadvertently give up your rights to your child. If you find yourself along in the proverbial woods, here are a couple things to aid you in your legal dispute and finding your way back to civilization.

  • Know Your Opponent. It’s not uncommon for a mother or father to find themselves facing an ex that is pulling out all the stops to make them look bad in front of the judge in order to get the child. Walking into court knowing what to say or what kind of terminology will be used in the proceeding or mediation hearing is just one more piece of armor for you to wear. If you feel that the opposing party is lying to the judge, there’s no better way to get around that than already having a fully documented report drawn up with counterclaims to specific accusations proving that they are not being entirely truthful or indeed vindictive.
  • Knowing A Little Bit About A Lot. Nobody is asking you to go to law school before you take your ex to court over a custody battle. What you might want to do is get a brief overview of what you might need to know. Having a general idea of the court system, the difference between being the plaintiff or the defendant or just being able to make a sensible decision about whether you want a full legal or full physical custody will improve your chances of winning your case or coming to a mutual agreement that works for both you and your ex. The goal really shouldn’t be to remove one parent from the child’s life; this should be a last resort measure. Even if your ex is asking for full custody of the kids, having a proposed parenting plan or petition with a very reasonable shared agreement can potentially look more appealing the a judge. They will see that you are responsible in drawing up your request and really have the child’s best interest at heart.

Knowing more than the person you’re going up against will help you win your case. There are plenty of resources out there to help parents who are new to the game. If you’re unsure about how the process goes, what will be done or how, in general, you achieve your goal, doing a quick internet search or some extensive reading is a step in the right direction. Checking things like your State’s government website for court information or local family legal resources are great things to look into. There are also national services available, if you qualify, that can prepare you for the court room or help you get everything you need to walk into court with. Doing your homework and being prepared should be at the top of your list.

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Posted in A Childs Best Interests, Child Custody, child custody battles, Family Court, Parenting Plans
4 comments on “Family Court Terms, How Are They Important?
  1. I see a number, do you’ll offer advice?

  2. Ellen says:

    Once Family Law proceedings are underway, can you pull out. I have spent an set 300,000. We are going through the megellan court due to a child psych and others informing Docs of allegations made by the kids. I want the kids to be able to have a normal relationship with their father and believe if he had some help (which he is getting) he could be a good father. I am worried that I am not coping. I am being pushed to reveal abuse that I suffered but I don’t want to. I just want us all to be free of this nightmare. Even when I do what Docs say (share my abuse, record the kids behaviour etc) they doubt me anyway. Why should I uncover my pain for their scrutiny? If they think he is fine, if a psych thinks he is fine, they should know and I can just make sure the kids have the appropriate knowledge to not allow anything bad to happen to them. How can I get out of this nightmare? I am so tired of having to see this person or that person. Share this or that. Please help, Ellen.

    • Hello Ellen,

      I understand this is a very difficult and hard time for you. Usually, once proceedings have began its wise to continue due to the time and expense involved. Its important to inform all events that have transpired especially if its documented abuse. I know you want your children to have time with their father, as you stated he is already working towards this with assigned professionals. Its hard to see the end of this season when you are in the middle, but your efforts are not in vain. Continue to persevere Ellen as your children will understand when they are grown, how you stood up for yourself during this time and times to come.

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