Child custody is a highly sensitive issue, which evokes varied emotions whenever it is raised. This issue often comes up when parents are undergoing a divorce or separation. By contesting your children's custody with your spouse, you are possibly acting in their best interests. An attorney will guide you through the difficulties involved with the objective of safeguarding your interests, and those of your children.
Child custody and visitation are often regarded as two sides of the same coin. When contesting the custody of your kids, you also need to keep in mind that your spouse needs to play a role in their upbringing. Therefore, the two of you must draw a parenting plan that factors in how you will share parenting time with the kids. This helps the young ones to cope with the pain and suffering that is associated with a divorce or separation.
The upbringing of your children matters a lot. This means that their custody is one of the most difficult but significant decisions during the divorce process. In most cases, parents fail to come to an agreement concerning their children's custody. This is when the courts come into the picture. A court decision is often reached after evaluating your children's interests. Thereafter, the jury will decide all the circumstances that pertain to the custody of the kids, and your visitation rights.
Just like any other civil case, you are advised to hire a family attorney who will offer you guidance throughout the entire process. These steps must be followed when requesting child custody:
- Filling out the requisite application forms and having them evaluated by a family attorney or any other family law expert appointed by the court.
- Filing the forms with a court clerk.
- Setting a mediation date with the court clerk. The purpose of this meeting is to mediate the case with your partner before the actual court date.
- Serving the other parent with court papers that notify him or her about the impending session. This should be done at least 16 days to the chosen date.
- Attend the court session so that the judge hears the case and signs the custody order.
You must liaise with your attorney to ensure that the aforementioned process is adhered to. Keep in mind that without a signed court order, you cannot take custody of your children. This is irrespective of whether the other spouse agrees to the proposed parenting plan or not. Contact your family lawyer should you have any queries pertaining to the case.