Understanding Child Custody Matters

Part II: Custody Litigation

While our previous post focused on amicable child custody cases (specifically navigating 50/50 shared custody arrangements), this article will provide clients with information about child custody litigation. Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law is here to protect clients and clients’ families during contested custody litigation proceedings, as well as what to expect if you plan on seeking custody of your child(ren).
Litigation is contentious – which is why it is critical to be fully informed on the procedure. Keep reading to learn more and contact our office to schedule a consultation.

What to Do When “50/50” (or Shared) Custody or Joint Custody Isn’t an Option For Your Family

“Joint custody” means both parents are responsible for making decisions about their child’s education, health care, religious upbringing, protection, and training. It does not necessarily mean custody is “shared”, although it can be. It is a legal term meaning decision making is shared. If you and your ex-partner cannot agree regarding major decisions, you will likely need the court to resolve your disputes. The court will ultimately decide how much time each parent spends with the child, and each party’s decision making power. If you want sole custody or joint custody with primary residency, you should have an attorney to assist you.

Fighting For Sole Custody

If you are seeking sole custody of your child, you must demonstrate you are the better parent to provide for that child’s financial, emotional, and educational needs.

Why Your Ex-Partner Should Not Have Custody

Evidence to support your position can include evidence that they have a history of drug or alcohol abuse; mental illness; domestic violence; sexual abuse or exploitation of children in their care; illegal activity, etc. These are obvious. There are a variety of other factors that can lead a court to grant sole custody, involving primary caretaking, particular needs of the child, financial issues, etc. If you believe your ex-partner is not able to properly meet those needs, contact an experienced family law attorney.

How To Protect Yourself & Your Family

  • Do not talk to or argue with the other parent about the case
  • Do not talk to the other parent about the children except when necessary for their continuing care.
  • Do not talk to your children about the other parent or their relationship with them and do not speak in derogatory language about the other parent. Do not interfere with the other parent’s relationship with the children.
  • Do not discuss any aspect of your custody case with anyone except those who are directly involved in helping you put it together (your attorney, or anyone your attorney hire to help you, etc.) You may have to speak with the child’s attorney at some point. Do so under supervision of your attorney.

Considering Pursuing a Custody Litigation Case? Here’s What To Expect:

The Process Will Take Time

Be prepared to invest time into this process. Custody litigation can be a long and difficult process that can take several months from start to finish.

It Will Cost Money

If you decide to hire an attorney for your child custody case, the expense will probably add up over time, as well as any other fees associated with the litigation process, such as filing fees and fees for expert witnesses, such as doctors, teachers, or other professionals having contact with the child. These People do not come to court for free. If a child has been treated by or interacted with a professional the professional must testify. It is common for physicians, teachers, or mental health professionals to testify in custody cases. In the long run, hiring an attorney is well worth it as they will protect your position, navigate the process and deliver peace of mind. Litigating custody cases is not for lay People.

There Are Many Steps Involved

Many steps are involved in litigating for child custody cases: discovery; investigation; possible mediation; motion hearings; trial and witness preparation and conduct of the Trial itself.

Why You Need a Family Law Attorney

If you are considering pursuing custody, it is crucial to understand that you can lose the case even if your children are not in danger and there is no history of abuse or neglect. If you do not have an attorney, you will be at a disadvantage if your ex-partner has one.

An experienced family law attorney can help guide you through this process by explaining what options are available within the legal system and helping prepare the documents required by courts during litigation. An attorney also ensures that all parties involved know what information is required to be shared and what information is necessary for trial. Having counsel makes it easier for everyone involved. They will know exactly where things stand throughout each step of the litigation; otherwise, some important details might be missed.

Turn To Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law: An Experienced Attorney Serving Rochester, NY

If you are considering a contested custody case, it is vital to understand how it works and what to expect. Custody litigation can be emotional and stressful, as well as complicated from an evidence standpoint. Having an attorney on your side will help you navigate the legal system while protecting your rights as a parent. Contact Thomas A. Corletta, Attorney at Law, to start the conversation.