Child Custody Mistakes to Avoid
Some divorces are knock-out, drag-down fights from start to finish. Others are amicable, friendly, and agreeable. Regardless of the situation, it is crucial that the divorce paperwork explicitly spell out child custody and visitation arrangements if there are children involved, because things change. Trusting your ex-spouse to “just do the right thing” is a risky move. Having the right legal protections in place can save you from devastating consequences. Consider the following (fictional) scenario:
Jane and Joe are married and have a son together. They decide to get divorced, under a no fault case that does not address custody of their son. Because they are still friends, Jane and Joe don’t see any problems with this arrangement. The son lives with Jane full time, while Joe remarries and moves out of state. Jane wants her son to have a relationship with his father, so she flies her son out of state to stay with Joe for a month. This is her first mistake. Allowing her son to leave the state without a custody order in place puts Jane at a disadvantage; if a custody order were in place, she could insist that any custody issues be dealt with in her state’s court. When the month is over, Jane gets terrible news- Joe and his new wife want the son to live with them full time. They have already hired a lawyer and filed paperwork stating that Jane is a danger to her son. Jane now has to fly out of state for court dates, many of which are months apart. In the meantime, the judge orders that their son stay with Joe. Jane has to hire a lawyer over the phone, and is dismayed when the lawyer she thought she was hiring is not the lawyer that shows up in court. This is mistake number two. Hiring the right family law attorney makes all the difference in how your case is handled. Experience, knowledge, and attention to detail are invaluable traits that an excellent child custody lawyer will bring to your case. Because the lawyer she hires is inexperienced, the lawyer does not immediately push for the case to be handled in Jane’s state or have Jane file for custody in her state, which is mistake number three. If Jane had filed for custody and asked that Joe’s state dismiss the case, she may have been the one with the home-town advantage, saving her time and money, in addition to making it easier for her to prove she is not an unfit parent.
Of course, this is a fictitious story, but situations like this do occur, more often than you’d think. Things can get tricky when a divorce case crosses state boundaries. Regardless of your situation, if you are getting a divorce, it is crucial to have the right attorney by your side. When it comes to the future of your family, you can trust DeVoe Law Firm to handle your case with skill and experience. Call DeVoe Law Firm today.
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