Having to go through a divorce process is already hard enough, but having to deal with a child custody case can be too much for anyone.
Even though about 90% of parents settle child custody without a judge’s ruling, navigating the case without a custody lawyer could be a mistake. Even when you and your spouse may seem amicable, sometimes you can’t be too sure about the things you agree to.
You’ll need to take care of the paperwork, track deadlines, and understand child custody law. There are so many pitfalls you could create unknowingly, which makes hiring Houston child custody lawyers a wise decision.
To help you understand when is the best time to make that decision, here are surefire signs that you must hire the best custody attorney.
1. Your Ex-Spouse Has Already Hired a Custody Lawyer
If your ex-spouse has already hired a custody lawyer, there’s a very high chance you’re already on the losing end.
While retaining a lawyer doesn’t necessarily mean an automatic win, their access to legal counsel should worry you. A professional child custody Baltimore attorney has the proper education and experience in family law.
This means that any research you do regarding the case will not compare to their knowledge. If your ex-spouse has a lawyer, they will have a considerable advantage over you. It’s only fitting that you level the playing field by hiring the best child custody attorney in your area.
Even if you feel like you can’t afford a lawyer, you can always look for free legal aid. Some organizations offer free representation and resources to low-income earners, and they may be able to help you.
Most child custody lawyers also offer free consultations, so you can at least get guidance and find the best way forward.
2. Your Partner Changed Their Mind Unexpectedly
It’s possible that your ex-spouse had already agreed to share custody or to give you full custody, but they changed their mind.
You may also suspect that they intend to convince the court you are unfit to have custody, depending on how bad your divorce was. In this case, it is advisable to hire a professional attorney because things may escalate, and you may have to go to court.
Your ex-spouse will have to provide substantial evidence of you being unfit to have custody. Sometimes you can never be too sure about the intentions of your ex-spouse.
Having an experienced and objective lawyer will go a long way in helping your case. They will even help you to calculate child support for joint custody.
3. Your Ex-spouse Already Prevents You From Seeing the Children
You’d be surprised at the number of people who deny the ex-spouse access to the children after a divorce. If your ex-spouse is already attempting to prevent you from seeing the kids or is interfering with the relationship you have with them, you should consider hiring a custody lawyer.
Among the many reasons why you may need to hire a lawyer, one of them is being denied your parenting time.
They’ll also include canceling your time with the kids at the last minute or even obstructing your contact with them. Once you start to notice this kind of behavior, it’s important that you document it and share it with the attorney. Every time you miss your chance to be with your children, write down all the circumstances surrounding it, as it will serve as evidence in court.
It’s also essential that you keep a file of your correspondence with your ex-spouse. Keep your text messages, email, phone calls, and other methods of contact.
4. You Have a Drug Abuse or Alcohol Addiction History
If you have been a drug or alcohol addict before, your ex-spouse may use this against you to prevent you from being with the children. You should be prepared because this will undoubtedly come up during the case, and your ex-spouse may try to use it against you. The best thing about this is that such claims must be presented.
The court may ask that you get a blood or urine test to show what you’re still using drugs or alcohol. They may also use any records of your arrest if you were arrested driving under the influence. If you have gone to a treatment program, they will also use this as proof to showcase your history.
If you know these situations are plausible, it’s crucial that you search for “The best child custody attorney near me.” They’ll formulate the best strategy to navigate this situation and show the steps you have taken to recover or improve yourself.
If you can prove that you no longer use these substances, you will have a high chance of getting a fair judgment.
5. You Know That Your Kids Are in Potential Danger
If you have been in a violent and abusive relationship, then you face many barriers that you need to overcome. You’re possibly going to be accused of failing to protect your kids.
You may be accused of making false allegations in order to alienate the kids from the other parent. This means that you will need to prove, without reasonable doubt, that your children could be in potential danger, and you need to protect them.
If your ex-spouse was an abuser, they’ll probably have made attempts at litigation abuse. The best way to protect yourself and your children is to hire a professional child custody lawyer. If you are in immediate danger, ask your attorney to get you a restraining order.
6. Your Custody Case Crosses Jurisdictions
If your case crosses different jurisdictions, it may turn out to be complicated because you may not know which state laws apply to your case. It may be even more complicated if you and your spouse live in different countries.
In such a situation, the knowledge and experience of a custody lawyer could go a long way in helping you navigate these challenges.
7. You’re Required to Get Treatment or Take Certain Classes
Depending on your situation, the court may require you to take certain classes such as anger management, drug, and alcohol treatment, or even parenting classes. The courts may already have determined that your behaviors pose a potential risk.
In this case, you’ll be at a disadvantage in your child custody case, making it imperative to hire a professional attorney
Signs You Need to Hire the Best Child Custody Attorney
While it’s possible you may not need a custody lawyer for your child custody case, all the situations listed above require legal counsel.
A professional child custody attorney will be a vital advocate, and you will have a better chance of getting a fair outcome. It’s even more important if you are battling an abusive relationship. Even if you can’t afford it, consider seeking legal aid for the sake of your children.
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