If you are in the midst of a divorce and have children, you are going to have to face some tough decision-making regarding custody and visitation rights. It can be an overwhelming and emotionally-charged process, but knowing what to expect can help provide some clarity and take the edge off some of your concerns. At Bundren Law Firm P.C., our child custody attorneys are committed to working toward a resolution that benefits you and your children. With the right legal advocate by your side, you can get through this difficult time with as little stress as possible.
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions and some answers to help get you started:
- What is the difference between physical custody and legal custody? Physical custody is exactly what it sounds like – your children would reside with you. Legal custody, however, refers to decision-making on your child’s behalf regarding important issues like health, education, and religious upbringing. A parent can have legal custody without physical custody, allowing him or her to partake in the raising of children even if they are not living in that parent’s home.
- Do unwed mothers need to file for custody? In some states, it is expected for unmarried mothers to file for custody, whereas custody is presumed in other states. It is important to understand your state’s specific custody laws.
- How do courts determine who gets custody? Several factors are considered by the court when deciding which parent is to be awarded child custody. These include the wishes of both parents, whether or not they are able to provide for their children, and their current custody arrangement as well as the relationship each parent has with the children. The court will also consider the child’s age, special needs, medical needs, and whether or not a parent will be supportive of the child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent.
- What does “the best interests of the child” mean? When the courts make a decision regarding child custody, they want to ensure it serves the best interests of a child. This is defined on a state by state basis, but it generally refers to the most ideal situation for a child. Most family courts will consider a child’s ability to maintain relationships with both parents to whatever extent possible as a vital element of what it means to serve his or her “best interests.” Therefore, any decision made regarding custody will seek to uphold that.
- Do I need a child custody lawyer? Family law is complicated and, although you certainly can go through this process without an attorney, it does not mean you should. At the very least, you should consider getting a free consultation with a child custody attorney before settling on a decision. Considering what is at stake, skimping on something like legal representation could be a terrible mistake.
- Do I need a temporary child custody order? The process of divorce can take some time and many important issues, including child custody, cannot wait for a resolution. Therefore, many states actually require temporary child custody orders as a solution for the period of time it takes for a couple to divorce. Even if your state does not require you to have a temporary child custody order in place, obtaining one is still a good idea. For example, if a parent gets sick, requires hospitalization, or serves in the military, it would be wise for parents to have a custody plan in place to avoid any confusion about who is to look after the children.
- What if my ex-spouse and I are able to reach a private child custody agreement? It is generally ideal for divorcing spouses to work out any agreements outside of court since it allows both spouses to wield more control over their future and the future of their family. Even if you are able to reach an agreement, you should still work with a lawyer to have the necessary paperwork drawn up, signed, and filed.
- How should I prepare for a child custody hearing? This is where having a child custody attorney will be helpful. He or she will be able to devise an appropriate plan with you prior to each court appearance. It is also important not to ignore the little things. Dress properly for court and observe correct courtroom etiquette. Showing up prepared will do a lot to influence a judge’s impression of you and who you are as a parent.
- Are judges biased against fathers in child custody cases? In the past, mothers were generally favored in child custody cases, but gender bias is no longer the norm. Courts are more inclined toward making a decision that allows both parents to continue to maintain a meaningful relationship with their children.
- Will allegations of domestic violence hurt my chances? If a parent has perpetrated domestic violence, particularly against the children in question, the court will likely be reluctant to award that parent custody. That said, they do carefully and fully investigate these allegations prior to delivering a decision. If you have been wrongly accused of domestic violence, it is imperative you seek legal representation.
Child Custody and Visitation Attorney in Tulsa
At Bundren Law Firm P.C., we know that parents always want what is best for their children, and the prospect of having to separate from them can be terrifying. Issues regarding child custody and visitation are, understandably, some of the most contentious elements of a divorce, which is why our Tulsa legal team is committed to protecting your rights as a parent. We will handle your case with understanding and compassion while working toward a resolution that benefits you and your children.
Child custody can be a difficult and complex process. To avoid making any costly mistakes, it is crucial to have effective legal representation to help you navigate the intricacies of family law.
We can help any parent in their quest for custody of their children. Contact our family law firm today at (918) 992-3300 for an initial consultation with one of the skilled and experienced members of our legal team.