Remember when you fell in love and couldn’t imagine living your life without your significant other? Then you got married and had your child. Maybe you thought your baby would bring you closer together, but it didn’t and now you’re getting divorced.
Divorces aren’t easy, especially when a child is involved. You may think that since you agreed to get divorced, you can represent yourself in court and handle the custody of your child between you and your ex-spouse. You want to be involved in your child’s life, but you may be seeing signs that your ex-spouse is not going to make that easy.
Here are eight signs that you need a child custody attorney while getting your divorce:
1. Your ex-spouse has hired a child custody attorney.
If your ex-spouse has hired a child custody or family law attorney, you should get one as well. Not having an experienced and knowledgeable child custody attorney could cause your case to end in a way you didn’t expect – and it may not be in your favor.
Equaling the playing field is essential for you in your child custody case. When your ex-spouse uses an attorney, you risk losing your case to your ex-spouse’s child custody lawyer, who is more experienced.
While you have every right to represent yourself in these cases, your chances of winning custody will be increased if you use a child custody lawyer.
2. You think your child is in danger.
In many cases, the court’s decision regarding custody of your child may make sense in theory. However, in this case, time is not on your side. If you believe your child is being neglected or abused in some way, it’s important to act quickly.
Without a child custody attorney, you may not know exactly what to do and what your rights are. Child custody cases may take a few months to solve, and if you believe your child is in danger, that seems unacceptable.
You need to hire a child custody attorney who understands the court system and can push through essential paperwork to protect your child from any danger.
3. You have been prevented from seeing your children.
If your ex-spouse is keeping you from seeing your children, you need a child custody attorney who can argue as to why this is wrong. You may have to appeal to the court, which could lead to a long legal battle. But you deserve to be a part of your child’s life.
If you don’t have a child custody attorney, you may find it hard to convince a judge that their ruling barring you from seeing your child was wrong.
It could be that your ex-spouse is in violation of a court order allowing you visitation rights, and you’re not sure how to proceed. In either case, you need a child custody attorney who can protect your rights as a parent and be a strong advocate for you in court.
4. Your child custody case is complex.
It could be that you live in a different county or state than your ex-spouse, and your area of residence is out of the court’s jurisdiction. Maybe you and your ex-spouse can’t agree on joint legal custody.
Your ex-spouse might also be attempting to convince the court that you aren’t fit for joint custody of your kids, or that your present living situation is changing so fast it impacts your child’s life. It could be that you are moving in with someone else or getting remarried.
If you’re in any of those situations, you should hire a child custody attorney to guide you through the child custody process and/or modification. It’s essential that you hire a child custody attorney, especially if you are remarrying or moving in with someone else.
The court will be extremely thorough in their scrutinization of you and your new partner before they allow you to have joint custody of your child.
5. You get a notice of a child custody hearing.
If you consider walking into court for a child custody hearing without a child custody attorney, chances are you’re going to lose.
When you get a notice to go to court for any reason, especially a child custody matter, it’s important that you have a child custody attorney who understands the legal process and court procedures to protect your rights.
6. Your ex-spouse wants sole custody of your child.
This is very common, especially in cases where there’s only one child involved. If you and your ex-spouse are fighting to win custody of your child, it’s always best to have a child custody attorney on your side.
A child custody attorney can help you settle a dispute by drafting an agreement that satisfies both you and your ex-spouse. Or, the child custody attorney can help you file a case to challenge your ex-spouse’s decision to stay with your child.
7. The court is requiring you to take classes or get treatment.
The court may have ordered you to take anger management classes, parenting classes, or join an alcohol or drug rehabilitation facility. If they do, it’s safe to assume you are already in a weak position in the eyes of the court.
If this is the case, it’s advisable to hire a child custody attorney. The exception to this is if both you and your ex-spouse have to take anger management or parenting classes in your child custody case.
While it’s rare, some court jurisdictions require some type of parental training for every case of child custody.
8. Your custody case crosses county or state lines.
If you and your ex-spouse are in the same county or state, a child custody trial will usually be pretty straightforward, especially if you and your ex-spouse are in agreement.
However, if you don’t agree, or if there are changes in jurisdiction between you and your ex-spouse, you will need to hire a child custody attorney.
Your child custody attorney can argue your best case for custody that doesn’t involve your child having to travel almost constantly between you and your ex-spouse.
Additionally, court demands and proceedings can change across state lines, and it’s important to have a child custody attorney to help you meet the requirements.
If you are facing a child custody lawsuit, you will need the help of a qualified and experienced child custody attorney. Without having the guidance of a child custody attorney on your side, your future and the future of your child could be in jeopardy.
Whether you and your ex-spouse live in different states or you need assistance in preparing the strongest case possible, a child custody attorney can make sure your rights as a parent are protected, and be a strong advocate for you in your child custody case.