Answers to Common Child Custody Questions
Parents involved in a child custody situation have a lot of questions. Here are some answers to frequently asked child custody questions.
1. Do I have to hire a lawyer? Parents do not have to hire an attorney for their custody case. Usually if the parents are able to work together on an agreement they don’t really need a lawyer. If the parents do not get along though, and if one parent is being very difficult to work with and wants to pursue full custody, you should probably hire an attorney. You should meet with an attorney and ask questions about your case to find out if they will really be that helpful. And, if you hire an attorney, you can do some things on your own (like develop a parenting plan or custody agreement) that will save you some money in legal fees.
2. What is custody court? Custody court is actually the family law court. This is the same place where you get your divorce. Custody court simply refers to the parents going to the courthouse and meeting with the judge. If the parents agree on their custody case, they judge will accept their plan. If there are disagreements, the parents and their legal counsel will present their cases and the judge will make the final decision about the custody arrangements.
3. How do I make a parenting plan or custody agreement? A parenting plan or custody agreement is the plan that outlines the information about your child custody arrangements. It includes a child custody and visitation schedule, a holiday schedule, and information about special events. It also has any parenting provisions or stipulations that the parents want to include. Parents can also put in other information about child custody that they want.
4. What is child custody mediation? If parents are not able to work out a parenting plan together, they can attend child custody mediation. This is where the parents meet with a neutral third party who knows about custody agreements. They work with the mediator to create their parenting plan so they can get it accepted by the courts. Some states require that parents go to mediation before their court day.
5. How do I win child custody? Winning child custody means that you are happy with the final custody arrangements. The best way to do this is to work with the child’s other parent to create a custody and visitation schedule that both of you like. This way the schedule will last longer and both parents will uphold it. If the other parent is impossible to work with, you should prepare to present your case to the court. You should make the parenting plan you want the court to adopt and then explain why it is best for the child.