How do I decide if I need a lawyer in a custody case?

By: LawInfo
Although hiring a good lawyer can be quite expensive, it is money well spent when it comes to child custody cases. A child custody battle usually occurs when parents separate or divorce, or when something happens to cause one parent to believe that the custodial parent is no longer the best parent to care for the children. Whatever the situation may be, it is important to take a child custody case seriously, and you can best do that by hiring an effective lawyer who has handled many child custody cases.
 
First, custody cases often involve a lot of information about you, your child’s other parent, and your child. Almost every detail about you and your family can come into play in a child custody case, as the judge’s goal is to decide what custody and visitation arrangement is in your child’s best interest. An attorney can help guide you through this information-gathering process, which is commonly known as discovery, and ensure that you are not revealing information that is not relevant to your custody case. An attorney can also help you better organize the information and present it in a format that is most favorable to you.
 
Next, an attorney can give you advice about how to best conduct yourself during a child custody case, which is likely to be very stressful and emotionally draining. Contact with your child’s other parent can become very strained, and the case is likely to also impact your child, which can make parenting more difficult. An attorney can advise you about taking actions that might be detrimental to your case. For instance, if you are wondering if it is okay to move out of state with your child in order to live with the boyfriend that you met online, your attorney can advise you whether doing so would negatively affect your custody case. Having an attorney on your side gives you a resource for asking questions before you take any actions that could cause the judge to view you negatively as a parent. 
 
Furthermore, an attorney often can give you valuable advice about the judge, the custody evaluator, and the other attorney that can help you be better prepared for your case. For instance, if the other attorney is very aggressive in court, your attorney can prepare you for the type and intensity of questions that you might face from the other attorney during a court hearing. Your attorney also can advise you about whether you should spend the money on a custody evaluator or guardian ad litem, or whether you should take other important steps in order to strengthen your custody case.
 
Finally, an attorney is the best person to represent you, and your child’s interests, in court. If you are facing an extensive custody trial, and the other parent has hired an attorney, you will be at an extreme disadvantage if you attempt to represent yourself. Without specialized knowledge of the law, including the rules of evidence, you are unlikely to be able to adequately present your case to the court, which endangers your ability to obtain or maintain custody of your child. 
 

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