One of the toughest challenges that separated on soon to be divorced parents have to go through is the establishment of the custody of their children and agreements on visitations. When making a decision on child custody, the courts generally take into consideration mostly the best interest of the child. Before the final hearing in the court, the process begins with picking the best possible lawyer to fight your case.
Picking the right child custody attorney can be a difficult task especially so since there are a number of very emotional issues that come out during the proceedings of a child custody case.
There are two kinds of child custody:
- Physical Custody: This signifies the right of the parent to get the child live with one of the parents. The court can give physical or legal custody to either both parents (called joint custody) or one parent.
- Legal Custody: This is the responsibility and right for making decisions regarding the bringing up of the child. This includes various aspects like medical care, discipline, education, religion, etc.
Parents who are looking to engage a good child custody lawyer can follow some of the following steps, to begin with:
- The right type of experience: Just the number of years of practice alone is not the criteria that you should be looking into. Neither is an age of the attorney the key. The right kind of a child custody lawyer is the one who has the best knowledge of custody laws and regulations of the state of practice and is well aware of facts with enough experience in the particular field of child custody in the same state. The attorney in question should also be smart enough to use the appropriate law and facts in your favor.
- The style of working and personality of the attorney: A single parent will want to make sure that the style and the personality of the attorney match his/her own. It need not be exactly similar but the attorney must be approachable and understanding. A sensitive and empathetic attorney will add a huge amount of comfort.
- Fee Structure: The attorney must have a reasonable fee structure that is clearly spelled out right at the beginning rather than keeping it ambiguous. You can find out if the charges are per hour basis or on a retainer basis.
- Consultations are done for free: You can find out if the consultations are done for free. If the attorney does a free consultation, it is easier to estimate if you can work with the attorney in the case or not.
- Pro Bono: In case the single parent cannot afford to pay an attorney, she or he can hire a court-appointed attorney that is free of charge. These courts appointed attorneys to work in just the same way as paid attorneys.
- Investigate the reputation of the attorney: You can look up lawyer directories in your state to see if your lawyer is in good standing if his/her license is valid etc.
You can also ask around about your lawyer to check his reputation. However pressurizing the situation may be, it is important that the single parent keeps his/her calm when going through the proceedings of the case while cooperating completely with the lawyer.