One of the first decisions parents who are petitioning the court for child custody must decide whether to employ a lawyer or go it alone. While presenting yourself can appear to be a cost-effective option, it can also be a risky choice, notably, if your case is complex.
People who represent themselves are responsible for knowing the laws surrounding child custody in their state, in addition to keeping track of deadlines, documents, and important information.
The learning curve can be high, and getting your head around it can take a long time. So here are nine cases in which you should think twice about going to court without first consulting with an experienced child custody lawyer.
Your Ex has hired a lawyer.
A child custody lawyer has specialized training and knowledge in family law. Your legal analysis and training pale compared to a lawyer’s legal experience, strategic maneuvering, and past experience with the court system.
If your ex has hired a lawyer, this gives them a huge advantage over you. Having your lawyer is a good way to level the playing field and increase the chances that the case will end with a favorable opinion.
No knowledge of Family Law
It takes a lot of preparation and planning to navigate a child custody case on your own. The litigants must properly understand the rules that relate to their case. They are also responsible for keeping track of documents, deadlines, and court dates on their own.
Attorneys are familiar with the ins and outs of the legal system. Every day, they fill out petitions, meet with clients, mediate disputes, and attend hearings. A lawyer serves as your representative as well as a legal guidance. You will relax a bit more knowing that somebody is handling your case and looking out for your best interests when hiring a lawyer.
Your partner has changed their opinion about you.
It’s time to consult a lawyer if your ex has changed their mind about sharing custody or you think they’ll try to persuade the court that you’re incompetent to have the kids overnight. Although each state has its own set of rules, both courts keep the best interests of the child while making the custody decisions. In most cases, the other parent must prove that you are incompetent or that a change of custody is in the child’s best interests.
The ex forbids you from seeing your children.
If your ex is interfering with your relationship with your children, you should consider hiring a lawyer to represent you. Obstructing interaction with the children, refusing parenting time, or canceling at the last minute are all actions that can address a lawyer’s assistance. Keep meticulous records of all of these actions and share them with your custody lawyer. Please keep track of any lost parenting time and the circumstances surrounding it. In addition, keep track of all communications with the other parent, including phone calls, emails, text messages, and other means of communication.
Although certain parents choose not to employ a custody lawyer for their child cases, but some circumstances necessitate legal assistance. A child custody lawyer can be a valuable ally, particularly if your situation is complicated or involves violence. If you can’t afford a lawyer and want to file your case yourself, contact your local legal aid agency for help.