5 Reasons To Hire a Child Custody Lawyer

child custody lawyer, family law

In addition to the normal stress and anxiety that accompanies raising a child, separated parents face many situations that may require the assistance of a child custody lawyer. Issues related to child custody schedules, child support, and child visitation schedules with grandparents are very common. Divorcing parents often require sound advice and skilled representation and these situations.

Should you hire a lawyer for child support and child custody?

While many parents are able to work together to reach agreements regarding their children, there are situations when it is important to hire a child custody attorney.

Related: 16 Factors of Child Custody in PA

Some of those situations include:

You Believe Your Children Are in Danger

If you believe your children are in danger due to the living conditions or the environment in the other parent’s home, you should consult with an experienced child custody attorney in your area. The family lawyer will help determine the best course of action. They will work with you to determine if it is necessary to change the current custody arrangement. An experienced custody lawyer may even seek emergency relief from the court. There may be other forms of relief that could protect the children in a dangerous situation, including seeking a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order.

Your Ex Has a Lawyer

If your Ex has a lawyer, it would be wise to have legal representation as well. In many instances, clients wish to have an attorney with whom they consult as they attempt to negotiate directly with the other parent. However, when the other parent is represented, it is best to have an attorney who can speak for you and can negotiate with the other attorney. By doing so you can also avoid “red herrings” that could be used as leverage to gain more favorable terms for the other parent.

Your Case Has Become More Complicated

Child custody encompasses issues of both physical custody (which parent has the children at any given time) and legal custody (which parent has the authority to make important decisions in the life of your child). While determining the best schedule of physical custody is challenging, issues of legal custody can make the situation even more complex. Physical and legal custody issues are often intertwined and can make negotiating a suitable agreement difficult. It is common that legal custody issues impact the physical custody schedule; like where the children attend school, in which extra curricular activities they participate and which medical providers the children see. 

To ensure that you are treated fairly during the child custody and child support negotiation process

An experienced attorney can ensure that the child custody result and the child support result are fair and within the normal ranges for cases similar to yours. Selecting experienced counsel will provide you with peace of mind that the process has been fair. That you’ve been provided the opportunity to share all the relevant information with the court and the other parent. Experienced counsel can also identify and anticipate issues that could arise in the future. They can see that protections are put in place to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of problems down the road. The goal should be to prevent ongoing litigation and repeated returns to court.

The Circumstances of Your Case Have Changed Significantly

Many times circumstances change after an initial custody or support decision is entered. Job changes, schedule changes, changes that occur as children grow older. These can all be reasons to revisit a custody or support agreement. Having skilled representation will allow you to properly and efficiently present the specifics of the changed circumstances to the court. The family lawyer will advocate for you as to why the changed circumstances should or should not result in a change to the custody arrangement or child support case.

Other Frequently Asked Questions About Hiring a Child Custody Lawyer

How much does it cost to hire a child custody lawyer in PA?

Many people want to know how much it will cost to hire a child custody lawyer to handle their case. The overall cost of the representation will likely depend on the complexity of the case and the nature and extent of the court proceedings required. Working with an experienced attorney will help you determine which issues are most significant for you and your children. An experienced lawyer can develop a plan that addresses those issues in the most cost effective manner.

How old does a child have to be to decide which parent they want to live with?

Many parents want to know if there is an age at which a child can make the decision regarding the physical custody schedule and where they want to live. In Pennsylvania, a child is never the decision maker about where they want to live or the custody schedule. That decision is made by the parents and if the parents can’t decide, then a judge. A child can offer his or her preference regarding the custody schedule. A child’s well reasoned preference is more likely to get greater weight from a judge when considering that preference along with all the other custody factors required by the court in making custody determinations.

Related: When Can a Child Decide Which Parent They Want to Live With?

What happens if parents can’t agree on custody?

Additionally, people commonly want to know what happens when both parties cannot come to an agreement on child custody terms. If parents cannot agree on physical or legal custody terms, they will be scheduled for a hearing before a judge. The judge will decide all child custody issues..

How do you find a good custody lawyer?

Finding the right child custody lawyer can greatly impact the future of your children and your relationship with them. This is why it’s so important to find a good lawyer you can trust and who you know will fight for you and the best interests of your children. Colgan & Associates is a highly respected and experienced child custody and child support firm serving York, Cumberland, and Dauphin Counties. We know family comes first and we do everything in our power to help families develop solutions and favorable outcomes for their clients.

What questions should I ask a custody lawyer?

When first speaking with a child custody lawyer, be sure to share all pertinent information about your matter; including your relationship to and with your children as well as your spouse’s. You should ask your lawyer for advice as well as what solutions they might recommend. If you anticipate your spouse not being in agreement with your requests, you should ask your lawyer what they will do to earn you a favorable outcome as close to what you request as possible.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with child custody or support issues, please call Colgan & Associates today for a no-cost consultation at (717) 502-5000.

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