Parental kidnapping and expensive legal battles are often headline news as parents from all backgrounds fight for custody of their children. Eventually, a custody agreement is made that outlines the rights and responsibilities of each parent while looking out for the best interest of the child. Since most people do not discuss custody cases until after they become involved in one, there are few things that you need to know about custody agreements. Being informed can make the stressful custody process easier to manage.
It Can Change
No matter what happens in or out of court, it is possible that your custody agreement may later change. As your child grows older or your own life changes, the custody agreement you obtain may no longer be beneficial or practical. Eventually, you may need to return to court to have the existing agreement modified. Also, if anything were to happen to you or the other parent medically or financially, it may be best for the child to change living arrangements. Always be prepared to fight for the custody arrangement you want, but never forget that your agreement can later be changed.
Inflexibility is Frowned Upon
Every parent enters a child custody dispute ready to fight for the right to spend as much time as possible with his or her child. While that is commendable, it is not a good idea to become so focused on winning that you refuse to bend or negotiate. Refusing to find common ground with the other parent, mediators, attorneys, or the judge will lead to problems. Remember, if you and your spouse are unable to come to an understanding, the court may make the decisions for you. When the court starts making decisions on your behalf, you run the risk of ending up with a custody agreement that causes more problems than it fixes.
Prepare for Joint Legal Custody
During custody disputes, emphasis is placed on the physical custody of the child while legal custody is rarely discussed. In most situations, both parents share legal custody of their child, meaning they both have decision-making authority. While the custodial parent is responsible for making most practical decisions, each parent will be able to contact teachers, doctors, and have access to information about the child.
Child Support is Separate
Child custody is an entirely separate issue from child support. Though both issues overlap since custody plays a role in who pays support, it is best not to confuse or combine the two conversations. Constantly bringing up child support during a child custody dispute can make it look as though you only want custody of your child because you do not want to pay child support. Save the conversation about child support for another day to avoid hurting your custody case.
Get Legal Advice
No child custody dispute is simple, and when you find yourself fighting for your child, having a skilled child custody and visitation attorney on your side can increase your chances of getting the agreement you want. The attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum are prepared to aggressively defend your parental rights while working to ensure that the best interests of your child are never overlooked. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at one of our Atlanta, Georgia offices so that we can begin discussing your case immediately.