If you have a disagreement with the other parent of your child, then you may need a custody order from the court. This process is complicated and stressful, but it essential that you are represented because how and when you can be with your child is at stake.
Court use the legal standard of what is in the best interest of the child. That is, the court will make its decisions based upon what is in the best interest of the child It is a broad standard that allows the court to consider a wide range of issues and concerns, some of which are apparent, and some of which require the guidance of an experienced attorney to properly identify and present to the court.
There are two types of custody: legal and physical custody. Legal Custody is the ability to have a say in how your child is raised: the school he/she attends, the religion he/she practices, the medical treatment he/she receives, etc. Typically the court will award joint legal custody to both parents, unless a parent’s involvement is detrimental to the child, i.e., the parent is abusive, uses drugs, or exposes the child to harmful situations.
As to physical custody, the court typically awards physical custody to both parents, as close to 50-50 as possible. However, the court may vary from this default position if the existing schedule is different or if one parent can show that is in the best interest of the child for him/her to be with that parent more than 50% of the time.
Temporary Custody Orders
The Court can put in place a temporary custody order during dissolution proceedings. Although these orders are temporary, they can have large, long-term consequences in establishing what will become the permanent custody order.
At Allingham & Cuerva, we can help ensure that you are able to exercise all of your custody rights. We have experience obtaining temporary and permanent custody orders. Similarly, we can help obtain a new custody order or defend against a request for modification of custody.
Permanent Custody Orders
As part of the final order for a dissolution, the court will issue a permanent custody order that will establish when and where your child will be with you and the other parent. The order will establish legal and physical custody. This is an important order because unless there is a change in circumstances, the order will not be modified.
Modification of Custody Order
Once a permanent order is in place it will not be altered unless there is a change in circumstance. A change in circumstance can be one parent moving, or the child is much older than when the order was first in place, or the child now has different health issues. Although this list is not inclusive, the change must be significant, such that impacts what is in the best interest of your child.
At Allingham and Cuerva, we can help with all types of custody order.