Child Custody • Visitation Rights • Divorce
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATION
In evaluating your child custody case, I will meet with you at length to make sure that you thoroughly understand that it is the best interest of the child standard that ranks first and foremost to the Judge and hopefully to you as a client. My job as your attorney in your custody or visitation case is to convince the judge that what you want is also in the child’s best interest in both the short and long run.
There are many factors that are included in a court's decision to award custody but most importantly, the Court will do its best to promote the emotional and financial stability in a child's life.
Custody Factors and Standards
I will give you a list of the key standards that courts use to analyze custody cases and ask you to take it home and write down all of the evidence and supporting arguments that can either hurt or help your case. Afterwards, we meet again to review the list and I give you my honest opinion of how I think a Court may rule and your chances of prevailing in a custody trial.
In evaluating the unique facts that are relevant to your custody case, you and I will formulate a plan that we are comfortable with and that gives you the best and worst possible scenarios and all points in between, before we decide on whether to make or accept a settlement offer or to present your case to the Judge.
What we have learned over the years in practicing family law is that above all, judges do not want to disrupt a child’s routine if he or she is functioning well in school and in the community. Whether you are going through a divorce or ending a relationship where custody is at issue, we urge you to remain in the same school district or live in a nearby community as the child, so that you will be on a level playing field with the other party. Although this is not always possible, it keeps you on a level playing field as the the other parent.
It is also important to show the court that you are willing to foster and encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent and that you have the financial means and psychological stability to care for your child.
I help you choose a cost-effective and practical strategy for ending your marriage in the least stressful way possible so that you can move forward with confidence and ease.
When it comes to child custody and visitation, a common misconception is that the father always gets the short end of the stick. Actually, this is not the case. Fathers are entitled to the same rights that mothers are, and the court system has a fairly objective system for determining these rights, which is called the “best interest of the child” standard. Studies have shown that children who have strong male role models perform better in school, make better decisions, and are more successful in life. Judges want both parents to be actively involved in their child's life as much as possible. It goes a long way to show the court that you are respectful to the other parent; willing to communicate openly for the best interests of your child, and willing to do whatever it takes to be in your child's life.
We are the best choice to help you to fight for your child and shift any intrinsic biases and prejudices of the court to your favor and help you secure the rights you deserve.
Research shows children who have strong relationships with their fathers tend to perform better in school, have healthier relationships with others, and make better choices overall than children who do not maintain strong bonds with their fathers.
THE DIVORCE PROCESS
The decision to divorce is not easy, no matter what the circumstance, because you are going to upset the apple cart and throw lives, including your own, out of balance. There are many factors to take into consideration, including real and personal property; financial support; debt; housing; retirement; etc. It is always a good idea to think about and plan for the consequences as early as possible so that you are not facing insurmountable challenges when the time comes. Divorces can range from simple, no fault divorces with no court appearances, to drawn out legal battles that often take several months to a year to resolve. Healthy, honest, and positive communication is always the key, whether it is with your spouse, attorney, or children. Knowing what to say, how to say it and when to say it, are also very important skills that your attorney can help you with.
Once you decide to file for divorce, or if you have been served with divorce papers, there are multiple steps that have to be taken with your attorney before your process is complete. These include:
Gathering the facts
Filing papers with the Court
Regularly corresponding with your spouse and/or the opposing attorney
Preparing for and attending any scheduled court appearances necessary to advance your case
Organizing and presenting documents requested by the judge
Securing witness testimony
Preparing you, your witnesses, and your evidence for a trial
Courtroom dramas as seen on TV are rare, as most of the work in obtaining a divorce occurs between attorneys and behind the scenes. The judge only conducts a divorce trial after settlement conferences are conducted and all efforts to negotiate have been exhausted. It is important to make sure that your divorce attorney fully understands your intentions from the outset regarding the items of property you want to keep, and your financial needs going forward.
In the event the parties agree to resolve all issues, settlement documents are presented to the judge and a Final Judgment of Divorce is signed, without the exorbitant expense of a full-blown trial.
We offer unbundled legal fee packages to help you achieve your goals in the most cost-effective way possible. In some circumstances, court appearances are not even required when the parties are willing to consent to all issues and sign affidavits.
Although settlements are ideal, they are not always possible when emotions are running high and there are significant financial interests at stake. It is helpful to have a divorce attorney who is both open and adept at an amicable resolution, but also not afraid or too busy to present your case to the judge in a trial.
If you are uncertain if now is the best time for a divorce, you are ready to take the first steps in getting a divorce,, or you have been served with divorce papers, call us at 504-430-7999 and we can discuss preliminary issues with you at no cost.
When two people decide to get a divorce, it isn't a sign that they don't understand one another, but a sign that they have, at least, begun to.
Don’t stress about your divorce or custody case. Call Susan: (504) 430-7999
Serving the Mississippi Gulf Coast and Southeast Louisiana